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HIA Construction Industry Update: Who can & can’t return to site

HIA Construction Industry Update: Who can & can’t return to site

Our partners at HIA have provided the following insights to help clarify today’s announcement by the NSW Premier, regarding the re-opening of the construction industry.

 

The Premier has confirmed today that the lockdown for Greater Sydney will be extended for four more weeks, to end on 28 August. Despite this extension of time, the Premier has also announced that some types of building work can recommence on 31 July.

Under the new restrictions, work can recommence on home building sites and home renovations in local government areas not listed as restricted local government areas.

HIA is pleased that the Government has taken on board several recommendations from HIA’s roadmap to reopen residential building sites and renovations in these new requirements and that renovation work has been included.

While today’s announcement is an important first step, many building sites, in particular sites within the eight restricted local government areas, must remain closed. This is disappointing and means members will face more difficult weeks ahead. Today’s announcements included additional wage and business support measures and we will provide further information to members on this as soon as possible.

This member alert provides details of the key changes businesses should begin to prepare for so that, where allowed, your sites can reopen. HIA will provide more details, including updating our Making space on site resources as soon as possible.

HIA will continue to work with the Government on ways to reopen all types of residential building work and get the industry back to ‘business as usual’ as soon as possible.

 

Which home building sites can reopen?

Home building sites and renovation sites in Greater Sydney may reopen from Saturday 31 July except for sites within the eight restricted local government areas.

Building sites that can reopen will also be allowed to start preparatory work tomorrow, 29 July to prepare for work starting on 31 July.

The eight restricted local government areas are Fairfield, Blacktown, Cumberland, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Parramatta and Georges River.

Building sites permitted to be open will need to meet new strict health and safety requirements and have a COVID Safety Plan in place.

Limits on the number of workers allowed on a site will apply based on whether the building site is unoccupied or occupied.

 

What are the restrictions for home building and renovation work on unoccupied sites?

  • Only one trade team may be on-site at any given time, for example, bricklayers and carpenters cannot be on-site at the same time.
  • Trades may only attend a maximum of five different sites per week.
  • These limits are not applicable to certain specialist roles that are on-site for relatively short periods of time such as site supervisors, certifiers and professional services, engineers, surveyors, delivery drivers and specialist installers working on their own.

What are the restrictions for home building and renovation work on occupied sites?

  • Workers must remain separated from all residents when on-site.
  • Only one trade team may be on-site at any given time.
  • For internal areas a maximum of two workers are permitted at any given time and for external work a maximum of five workers may be on-site at any given time.
  • Trades may only visit a maximum of five different sites per week.
  • These limits are not applicable to certain specialist roles that are on-site for relatively short periods of time, such as site supervisors, certifiers and professional services, engineers, surveyors, delivery drivers and specialist installers working on their own.

What additional restrictions apply for permitted home building and renovation work?

  • All worksites must have an updated COVID Safety Plan in place. The NSW Government is yet to release the new checklist for construction sites. HIA will also be updating our Making space on-site resources to align with these new requirements. HIA will provide further advice to members when these updates are available.
  • Masks must be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors, subject to exemptions.
  • Builders must appoint a COVID marshal, such as the site supervisor, to ensure all restrictions are complied with on-site. One marshal is required per 50 staff/tradespeople.
  • Workers must adhere to the 1 person per 4 metre rule (where ever possible).
  • Deliveries to site must be contactless as far as is practical and workers must maintain a 3 metre separation from anyone not in their team, including delivery personnel.
  • Builders must maintain a register of all people who have been at their sites and ensure all people, including delivery drivers, ;check in’ using the Service NSW COVID Safe Check-in QR code.

Can home building continue in the eight restricted LGAs?

No. Building sites within the eight restricted LGAs must remain closed at this time and trades and workers who live within those LGAs are not permitted to leave their LGA to undertake building work.

As has been the case for the last two weeks, urgent works can continue to be undertaken after 31 July in the restricted LGAs.

 

Can I start preparatory works ahead of Saturday?

Yes. The following preparatory works may commence on building sites from tomorrow Thursday 29 July:

  • checking or maintaining installations or equipment
  • cleaning, waste removal or waste management
  • stocktaking or restocking
  • delivery of materials or equipment
  • servicing or installation of amenities
  • relocation on the construction site of plant or equipment
  • issuing permits or certificates
  • establishing arrangements or procedures to help protect persons from COVID-19
  • erecting fencing or hoarding
  • inspections, including for technical reasons, or safety, including work, health and safety, or for valuations or other financial reasons
  • removing water
  • connecting power, fuel or services
  • safety work, including work related to fire safety or electrical safety
  • surveying or marking out
  • fire safety related works
  • electrical safety related works
  • training required to be carried out on the construction site.
 
 

Can engineers, certifiers and other professionals still carry out inspections?

Yes. The restrictions do not apply to roles that involve inherently short and contactless visits to sites, such as supervisors, certifiers and professional services such as engineers and surveyors.

All people carrying out these roles are still required to wear masks, maintain a 3 metre separation from any other workers on-site (wherever possible) and ‘check in’ to the site using the Service NSW Check-in QR code.

 

Can delivery drivers visit more than five sites per week?

Yes. While deliveries to site should be contactless, certain restrictions do not apply to delivery drivers. Manufacturers and suppliers will still need to comply with the 3 metre separation rule, wear masks and must ‘check in’ with the ServiceNSW QR code.

Any deliveries will still need to comply with any other applicable Public Health Orders such as surveillance testing and additional restrictions related to the eight LGAs.

Businesses carrying out deliveries should keep accurate records of all sites their staff or contractors attend.

 

Can workers carpool?

There have been no changes to the carpooling rules. Workers should only carpool if it is necessary for carrying out their work in a work vehicle.

 

What restrictions apply to workers in the eight restricted LGAs?

The list of authorised workplaces will be expanded to include certain manufacturing businesses that make construction materials, plant and components. This means workers that need to attend work outside the LGA they live in can do so as ‘authorised workers’ but will be subject to testing and movement limits when travelling to and from work.

Where a manufacturing or warehousing facilities is located within a restricted LGA, authorised workers can travel into those LGAs to attend work.

All authorised workers from Canterbury-Bankstown LGA must now get a COVID-19 test every three days in order to leave their LGA for authorised work.

All authorised workers from Fairfield LGA will no longer be required to get a COVID-19 test every three days.

This new testing requirements will be enforceable from Saturday, 31 July. However, relevant workers will have from today to get their first test.

 

Government business support payments

The NSW Government has provided a number of business assistance measures that may be of value to members impacted by the ongoing restrictions. Additional support measures were announced today and details will be available soon.

For members or employees of members financially impacted by the restrictions, you may be eligible for the federal or state government wage support under the National Disaster Payments arrangements. The payments are based on a reduction in the number of hours worked being reduced and there are two tiers for the payments. HIA has information available online.

 

Want more information?

While work can restart for many sites, there are still many sites limited in their activities. This means you may still need to manage contractual issues over the next four weeks. Information is available to assist members with any questions that have arisen regarding your contracts and clients due to the restrictions.

The NSW Government is recommending people take the opportunity to be vaccinated as a way to reduce the need for future lockdowns. More information on the vaccine roll out in NSW is available here.

HIA recognises that the impact of COVID-19 has been significant on members, staff and families. Members should take time to look after your staff and your own personal health including being mindful about everyone’s mental health.

HIA has a range of resources available to members through our partnership with BeyondBlue.insights to help clarify