COVID-19 Updates
Fiona Nield

Late this afternoon the Victorian Government announced a 5-day lockdown for the entire state of Victoria.

The lockdown will commence from midnight tonight and at this time will run until midnight Tuesday 20 July 2021.

Similar restrictions will be in place as during Victoria’s most recent lockdown in May 2021. This means that building work on most building sites may continue but some activities such as operating a display home or colour selection centre must cease. Work on occupied residential premises will also be restricted.

Five reasons to leave home

The lockdown requires all Victorians (metropolitan and regional) to stay at home unless they meet one of the five reasons to leave home. These are:

  • to carry out authorised work or permitted education activities,
  • to shop for necessary goods and services,
  • for caregiving or compassionate reasons,
  • to get vaccinated as soon as you’re eligible to do so, and
  • to exercise for a maximum of two hours per day.

 

Can building sites remain open?

Yes. Building sites are again defined as authorised work and can continue to operate subject to:

  • wearing face masks indoors, including on building sites that are substantially enclosed (unless an exemption applies),
  • wearing face masks outdoors where social distancing is not possible,
  • continuing to use the Service Victoria QR Code for contact tracing, and
  • continuing to follow your COVIDSafe Plan.

Can renovations and maintenance work continue in occupied premises?

No. Renovation and maintenance work in occupied homes is not permitted during the lockdown.

Members should communicate with the home owner and take the necessary steps to secure the work area as soon as possible and comply with all health and safety obligations.

Critical or essential repairs in an emergency situation are allowed.

During any emergency visits, and upon the client permitting entry to the home, members must ensure they comply with all COVIDSafe measures. This will include:

  • wearing a facemask (unless an exemption applies),
  • maintaining contact details (using the Service Victoria QR Code contact tracing system when possible), and
  • social distancing where other people are present.

Can external building works continue on occupied premises?

HIA is confirming the arrangements with Government on this type of building work. We will provide an answer to members as soon as it becomes available.

During the extension to the lockdown in May, external building work including painting and landscaping, was permitted however we will provide this advice in due course.

Can renovations in unoccupied homes continue?

Yes. Work can be carried out subject to all COVIDSafe measures being in place including:

  • wearing a facemask (unless an exemption applies)
  • maintaining contact tracing details, using the Service Victoria QR Code when the building works take more than 1 day or multiple workers will be attending the site, and
  • social distancing where necessary.

Is manufacturing work permitted?

Yes. All manufacturing activity, including fabrication or assembly of goods and materials for the building industry can continue during the 5-day lockdown, as occurred during the last lockdown.

Any business that is allowed to keep operating remains subject to the existing workplace restrictions, including maintaining COVIDSafe Plans, using the Service Victoria QR Code System, wearing and carrying face masks, complying with density quotients for indoor areas and ensuring people work from home where possible to do so.

Can display homes and colour selection centres open?

No. Display homes and colour selection centres will remain closed during the lockdown.

The Authorised Providers and Authorised Worker List only allows essential retail facilities to remain open during the lockdown.

Can site inspections continue?

Site inspections that are considered critical may continue during the lockdown. This may include site inspections by building professionals such as engineers, building surveyors, architects and building consultants.

Client site inspections will not be permitted during the lockdown. This is particulary due to the 5km rule and because it is not one of the five reasons to leave home.

HIA will continue to keep members informed if this advice changes.

What about office-based workers?

A worker must work from home where they are able to do so.

Offices must remain closed unless:

  • a worker is an Authorised Worker or works for an authorised provider; and
  • it is not reasonable for the worker to carry out their work from home during the lockdown.

Limit on travel from your home – 5km radius

If you are allowed to leave home for work reasons, the 5km radius for travel from home will not apply to that travel. This means that members working on building sites will be allowed to travel outside their 5km radius to attend building sites and undertake any business activities that cannot be undertaken from home.

If you are not an authorised worker or on the authorised provider list, you must remain within 5 kilometres of your home.

What are my ongoing obligations?

Members should continue to:

  • regularly review the DHHS list of exposure sites and follow the Government directions where applicable,
  • continue to wear facemasks indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible, and
  • continue to use the Service Victoria QR code App.

HIA’s Melbourne Office

HIA’s Melbourne office will be closed during this lockdown period. Our staff will however be available to assist members by phone on 1300 650 620 or (03) 9280 8200. Our email is also available for members to contact us.

We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.

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