Bowens - The Builders Choice

What can we expect for the residential building industry from 28 October?

Following weeks of restrictions on domestic building work, renovation work, meeting clients and operating display homes in metropolitan Melbourne, HIA had asked for all sectors of the residential building industry to be provided with more flexibility.

Today the Victorian Government made major announcements including the significant lifting of restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne for residential building work. These changes will start taking effect from midnight Tuesday 27 October.

While the specific details of the changes are not yet available, HIA has been briefed by the Government and it is expected that the following details will be confirmed in the legal documents released tomorrow for an easing of restrictions on domestic building work:

  • The limit on the number of workers permitted on a site will be lifted.  This means the five workers plus a supervisor for each small-scale construction site will no longer apply.
  • The limits on the number of sites a worker can visit in a week will be lifted.  This means different rules around site vists for specialist contractors and other workers will no longer apply.
  • Internal renovations may be allowed to restart – subject to appropriate barriers being in place to manage air flow and the risk of possible infection or where the home owner is not present during the work.
  • In home quotations for products and services may be allowed to resume with conditions.
  • There is expected to be more flexibility for visits to display homes and land sales offices, though are still expected to be restrictions including possibly a time limit for each visit. It is expected that display homes will be subject to the same requirements as real estate inspections  – which requires record keeping of visitors and density quotients, up to a maximum of 10 people at a time from no more than two households, excluding staff.
  • COVIDSafe Plans should be required instead of High Risk CovidSafe plans.  It is expected that keeping records of workers and visitors attending sites and related declarations will continue to be a requirement.

After 8 November it is expected that:

  • Display home visits could increase to 10 people from any number of households, subject to density quotient and COVIDSafe requirements.
  • Ring of Steel  – to be removed which means that there will be the ability to move between Melbourne and Regional Victoria for working and for clients to visit display homes, building sites and offices.

Further announcements about the lifting of restrictions, including the eased restrictions for visitors to homes, still need to be made. These changes are expected to provide further guidance on what business activities, including renovations, quoting and measuring, will be allowed at occupied homes.

What happens next?

HIA will provide confirmation of all of the matters in this alert as soon as the legal documents become available tomorrow via a further member alert and continue to keep members posted on any updates received.

The announcements today indicate the Government has listened to many of HIA’s concerns and our call to action on behalf of the domestic building industry. The changes will assist residential builders and renovators to reopen and commence rebuilding the lost sales and pipeline of work impacted over the last 3 months.

The Government’s media release from today is provided here.

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