Bowens - The Builders Choice

Managing the challenges of COVID-19 into 2022

COVID 19 Resources

This year has been unique and challenging for our whole industry. The experiences of members across Australia have varied greatly, but it is important to recognise that the strength of our industry and home building nationally will see hundreds of thousands of families move into a new home this year and in 2022.

Many restrictions have eased in recent weeks allowing people to catch their breath and look forward to the Christmas break and the new year. Yet the events of the last few days shows there is still a long way to go before the risk of COVID-19 impacting business operations is a distant memory.

Throughout the pandemic, HIA has built a large library of COVID-19 resources aimed at helping you with these challenges. We will continue to support members in 2022 to stay up to date with these changes.

As the year ends, our last ‘COVID-19’ member alert is aimed at providing you with a reminder of things to consider and further support to help keep your businesses COVID safe.

COVID-19 vaccination in your business

As states and territories reopen borders and business restrictions ease, there continues to be discussion and at times confusion, about how a business should be managing the issue of vaccination.

While mandates in NSW and Victoria, along with the Northern Territory and Western Australia in one sense provide certainty, businesses not captured and businesses in the remaining states may feel confused about how to tackle the issue.

Where mandatory vaccination requirements are in place HIA has information to assist you to understand and apply the specific rules.

Public health orders and other legal directions that make vaccination mandatory and set out what information you must collect from employees or workers should be followed. Generally, these directions also provide clarity on what you can do if your employee or worker refuses to comply with these mandatory requirements.

Where there are no mandatory vaccination requirements you may be confronted with questions and concerns regarding the vaccination status of your employees or workers, or considering what approach your business should take to give comfort to your workforce. Maybe you have an employee who is refusing to work with unvaccinated colleagues, or maybe a homeowner you are working for wants to check your vaccination status before allowing you back on site. Unfortunately, each situation will be different and the answer will depend on your business and the individuals involved.

To assist in responding to these types of situations HIA’s vaccination resources may help:

Dealing with delays and price increases

HIA Workplace Advisers continue to field calls from members across the country regarding delays in the supply of building materials from both local and overseas sources due to the ongoing effect of COVID-19 on the industry. Combined with the high level of home building activity, there continues to be significant pressure on the availability of labour, all of which is causing price increases across the supply chain.

Clearly the pressure from this situation is significant on businesses and your customers. It continues to be critical that you take time to make good choices in pricing and timing new projects and in managing your existing projects.

To support members, HIA’s tool kit on managing delays and price increases may assist you with information on contract requirements and how to work with your customers.

Managing financial distress

With the high level of activity and the supply chain constraints everyone involved in residential building work is currently experiencing, it is more important than ever that you keep close track of your businesses financial position.

If you are struggling to pay debts or are concerned about your current financial position, don’t ignore the situation. There are some things you can do to support yourself and your business through tough times:

  • Do your accounts, check who you owe money to and who owes you money.
  • Talk to your bank or other financial institution. It is in their best interest to have you continue to do business so they may offer some options to keep you afloat.
  • Talk to the ATO. Tax bills are one of the biggest business costs and it is important to remember that GST for example, isn’t your money. The ATO has now issued special advice about help that’s available.
  • Talk to your suppliers. We know prices are rising so you should consider being on the front foot about when increases may impact your business and any payment options.
  • Get financial help from a qualified insolvency practitioner or financial advisor. HIA has also developed information regarding managing your solvency that might support your business and your contracts.
  • The Australian Financial Security Authority may provide some information about your options

In addition, looking after yourself is just as important as looking after your business. HIA has a range of resources and our relationship with BeyondBlue may assist in managing business stress and mental well-being for you, your teams or your families.

Making space on site resources updated

HIA’s Making space on site guidelines, plans, site posters and other resources have provided a valuable tool for members across Australia to meet COVID-19 safety requirements. While several states and territories have needed tailored plans and check-ins. As 2021 comes to end, fortunately only Victoria and the ACT continue to have specific rules and requirements to have a COVID safety plan of some type.

In Queensland, NSW, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, there remains a general expectation that building businesses will continue to take the necessary steps to manage the risk of COVID-19 on site and in other business locations.

Our two most used guidelines and our COVID-19 Site induction have been updated to provide members in these states with refreshed tools to use on site.

Once again, it is important that you continue to keep your sites COVID safe regardless of the level of restrictions in place and that you take the time needed to keep your business and your people safe and healthy as the year ends.

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