For many renovators, stage 4 restrictions have meant financial hardship and a complete halt to work. Many of these small businesses are suffering and for those builders and trades undertaking indoor renovations work at occupied homes, they have experienced a lengthy time of not being able to operate.
During Stage 4, HIA called on the State Government to provide certainty for the renovation industry and allow a safe return to work and we hope by the time this article is published things have changed. HIA’s detailed plan for the safe resumption of renovations in occupied homes, outlined the many safeguards industry can put in place to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 for builders, trades and home owners alike.
The renovation sector is a huge part of the residential building industry in Victoria generating around $9.5 billion to the State’s economy annually over the last five years. Taking account of COVID-19 HIA had projected this to fall to around $8.8 billion in 2020/21 before the restrictions were applied. The impact of these prolonged restrictions is likely to see this figure fall further.
The ban on renovation work has also caused many home owners to live with incomplete building work at their home as there was no time to complete works in progress included in the restrictions. Home owners may have been willing to accept unfinished work for six weeks, but it’s been hard on many homeowners too as they have waited for the restrictions to be lifted and for work at their home to be completed.
At the time of writing, HIA has been pleased to see the Victorian Government has allowed for many outdoor renovators to return to work and that the permitted work goes beyond the limited information provided initially. A wide range of outdoor building, renovation and related activities has commenced or restarted with particular COVIDSafe requirements in place.
But home renovators who work in occupied homes still need some support and certainty from the Victorian Government. It is now time for the Government to give them this certainty and allow them to safely get back to work. They deserve a chance to rebuild their businesses.
HomeBuilder – Victorians need more time to sign up
It’s also clear that Victorian’s need more time to sign up for the HomeBuilder Grant. The extended lockdowns and the closure of display homes until recently are continuing to delay the opportunity for Victorians eligible for HomeBuilder to choose and sign up with a builder in time for the December deadline. It is critical the Victorian Government seek an extension of time for contract signing so eligible Victorians don’t miss out. With the 31 December deadline for signing an eligible home contract for HomeBuilder fast approaching, Victorians simply need more time.
HIA has called on the Victorian Government to work with the Australian Government to extend the HomeBuilder scheme deadline for signing contracts in Victoria from 31 December 2020 to at least 31 March 2021. This additional 3 months would allow for the level of interest in the grant to be realised and more home owners and people who want to undertake a renovation can benefit from it.