Property Australia

What Stage 4 restrictions mean for construction

PROPERTY AUSTRALIA August 11, 2020

The Property Council continues to work closely with the Victorian Government to ensure any construction activity that can continue safely does so, and curbs the spread of coronavirus. Here are the key things you need to know.

 

  Three key takeaways:

  • Victorian construction can continue to operate onsite within strict guidelines
  • All residential and large-scale construction sites must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan
  • All workers must have a Permitted Worker Permit.

 

“Since Premier Andrews announced Stage 4 restrictions, the Property Council has worked collaboratively with the Victorian Government to clarify various aspects of the construction sector guidance,” explains the Property Council’s Victorian executive director Cressida Wall.

“We thank the government for engaging with industry. Notwithstanding the immense challenges this period will bring, we are pleased that construction can continue to operate on-site within strict guidelines.”

 

COVIDSafe strategies

From 11:59pm on Friday 7 August, all Victorian residential and large-scale construction sites must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan. No more than one worker is permitted per four square metres of enclosed workspace, and all workers must have a Permitted Worker Permit.

All employees, supervisors and on-site specialists are:

  • Prohibited from car-pooling to and from work
  • Required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace
  • Required to limit movement between multiple sites and observed enhanced PPE and hygiene measures if working between sites.

 

Large-scale construction

A construction site is considered large-scale if it will be more than three storeys on completion (excluding basement), is larger than 1,500 sqm in floor size, is any office or retail fitout, or any large format or retail industrial site.

Each large-scale construction site must have no more than 25 per cent of their baseline workforce on site. Further detail of how this is calculated is available on the Business Victoria website.

Movement between different sites must be limited. Specialist contractors should visit no more than three sites per week. Workers moving between multiple sites must observe enhanced PPE and hygiene measures. A full list of specialist contractors is available on the Business Victoria website.

 

Small-scale construction

Anything which does not meet the definition of a large-scale construction site is considered small-scale construction site.

The number of people on-site for small-scale residential construction must be reduced to five people plus a supervisor at any one time. Movement of workers between sites must be limited where possible. Supervisors can move between sites and specialist trades can move between up to three sites per week, subject to enhanced COVID safe practices. Further details can be found on the Business Victoria website.

 

Early stage residential land development projects

Early stage residential land development – which includes all civil works undertaken in open air and large greenfield sites – must limit people to 10 workers per hectare. All workers count towards the density restrictions. Movement of workers between sites must be limited where possible and only with appropriate guidance.

Once subdivision occurs, the construction of that dwelling on that part of the site is regarded as a small-scale construction project.

Large scale residential development, like retirement villages, with a single entity responsible for construction, is considered large scale construction.

The Property Council has also clarified rules for civil construction, professional services like architects, engineers, building inspectors and auditors, and specialists conducting safety inspections. More information is available on available on the Business Victoria website.

 

Critical and essential construction

Some critical and essential infrastructure is not subject to reductions. This includes construction or maintenance of infrastructure required to sustain human health or national security, and activities prescribed by the government as “state critical infrastructure projects”. Very few activities are expected to fall into these categories, and projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. More information on how this is classified can be found on the Business Victoria website.

 

Retirement living

All operators, unless the business is deemed to be a small business with fewer than five employees, must have a COVIDSafe plan in place for each village.

The Retirement Living Council, together with Russell Kennedy Lawyers, has drafted a template retirement living COVID Safe plan to assist Victorian operators.

A fact sheet to assist in the implementation of the plan and a template workplace attendance register are also available online.

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