COVID-19 Updates
Fiona Nield

Update #7 on Stage 4 restrictions for housing

The Victorian Government has released further updates to the requirements residential builders must comply with under the stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne.

Since stage 4 restrictions were announced on 3 August there has been uncertainty about the rules making it very difficult for builders, trades and workers to schedule their work.

The changes made over the weekend are focused on specialist contractors and the movement of those carrying out statutory inspections between residential building sites. This alert is based on the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Direction (No 4).

HIA is continuing to work with members and the Government to resolve some of the further operational issues that have been identified as a result of these revised arrangements.

What has been updated?

The key changes are:

• an expansion of the specialist contractor list permitted to visit up to three sites per week.
• clarification that professionals undertaking statutory inspections are not restricted in their movements across construction sites.

What are the current rules?

The rules that apply to small-scale construction sites can now be summarised as follows:

Number of workers on site – The five worker rule

• Five workers (excluding the supervisor) can work on a small scale construction site at any one time.
• A professional carrying out a statutory inspection is a worker for the purposes of the five worker rule.
• A person delivering supplies to a worksite is not a worker for the purposes of the five worker rule.
• A person carrying out COVID-19 safety activities such as cleaning or compliance is not a worker for the purposes of the five worker rule.

Movement between small scale construction sites – Limited and subject to the requirements in your COVIDSafe Plan

• Supervisors may work at multiple sites per week.
• Specialists providing safety services such as installing safety equipment may work at multiple sites per week.
• Workers who are specialist contractors may work at up to three sites per week. This list now includes several additional contractors for example, bricklayers, painters and waterproofers, along with carpenters, plasters and a number of others.
• Professionals such as building surveyors and engineers carrying out statutory inspections may attend a site when required.
• Professionals such as engineers, architects and others carrying out non-statutory inspections may attend sites when necessary but are limited to three sites per week.
• The movement of workers (other than supervisors, safety specialists, specialist contractors or professionals) between construction sites must be limited.

Workers who work on multiple sites are required to make written declarations that they are working on more than one site and identify the sites they have worked on.

Records of all declarations must be kept along with copies of any other documents, such as rosters, to show compliance with the five worker rule and the management of workers working on multiple sites.

Other changes

The updated Directions also set out further details for early stage land development and large scale construction projects with floor area requirements.

Want to find out more?

HIA has provided a detailed information sheet setting out how the Stage 4 restrictions apply to residential building sites.

The Business Victoria Website also provides information and is being regularly updated to respond to questions.

The legal instruments that give effect to the stage 4 restrictions are also available online.

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