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COVID-19 Update – Vic

July 30, 2020

In today’s update from the Premier, further restrictions on Victorians were announced.

Adding to the existing mandatory requirement for face coverings in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, today’s announcement will see this requirement extend across regional Victoria from midnight Sunday 2 August.

This means that a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home – and wherever you live.

As outlined in last week’s member alert, wearing a mask at work is also part of these requirements. This means that everyone on a building site must wear a face mask unless it is not practicable to do so and unless one of the permitted exemptions applies. More on wearing face masks is available from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Premier thanks HIA

During the Premier’s update yesterday I was pleased to note that he specifically thanked the Housing Industry Association for our efforts to increase awareness and work with the Government at this difficult time to promote safe work. His statement is also recognition of the efforts our members are making to remain COVID safe.

HIA is encouraged that working on domestic building sites continues to be a permitted activity and it is critical that members across Victoria take every effort to work safely and manage the COVID-19 risk.

Last week HIA wrote to the Premier to reassure the Government that the domestic building industry is well placed to continue operating in these times and to keep Victoria’s economy moving.

Wearing face masks

Today’s decision to make face masks mandatory for anyone leaving their home from Sunday will in some respects make managing this requirement easier. There will be no confusion about where people have travelled from or to.

However, it is important for members to recognise that a face mask for COVID-19 is not going to be a suitable mask for other OHS requirements when working on a building site. While it may seem simple, it is important that members take time to ensure that you are wearing the right mask at the right time for the job you are doing.

HIA has developed a new information sheet Face Masks and Respiratory Protective Equipment to provide members with more information on the types of masks available.

New: Site Manager QR Code

Site Manager for COVID-19 is a new digital tool HIA has developed to help businesses manage the site sign-in procedures.  This tool can help builders to comply with OHS requirements including the COVID-19 guidance released by WorkSafe.

Site Manager is a contactless QR code solution that:

  • allows builders and trade contractors to easily create and keep records of who has visited a site and when; and
  • provides builders and trade contractors with the assurance they need to meet the COVID-19 record keeping obligations.

There are a range of ways members can choose to manage information in relation to tracking and tracing building site movements. Members may consider using one of the many apps that have been developed by private businesses to assist with complying with your OHS requirements. Members should make your own enquires with the providers of these apps to gauge whether they suit your business needs.

Inspections of building work

The current directions in the Restricted Area (greater metropolitan area and the Shire of Mitchell) about leaving home continue to impose restrictions on the rights of clients to attend inspections of building sites.

In the Restricted Area a client should only be attending an inspection of a building site if it is necessary and supervised by the builder. All attendees must maintain social distances, practice safe hygiene practices, and wear a face covering. A written notice should be sent by the builder to the client to confirm the inspection so the client has evidence to show that their leaving home is necessary.

An inspection will only be necessary if required by the building contract, such as a final inspection, or is needed to resolve an issue with the carrying out of building project and the client’s presence on the site is deemed essential. Unfortunately clients should not be attending other inspections and members will need to work with clients to find other ways for them to check the status of their project.

Victorian HomeBuilder details released

The Government has released the much awaited detail on the HomeBuilder grant and how it will operate in Victoria. The application portal for the grant is expected to be available soon. Read more details about HomeBuilder

In an update since Friday, following HIA’s request for clarification, the State Revenue Office has also confirmed that it will allow for a range of consumer scenarios to be considered for grant eligibility. This will be if the client is:

  • registered on title as the owner of the land at the time of signing the contract; or
  • signs a home building contract and is registered on title as the owner of the land by no later than the laying of foundations and the first progress payment is made; or
  • purchasing a new spec home and becoming registered on the title as the owner of the land on completion of the off the plan contract to build or buy the new home.

This clarification should see more clients eligible for the grant than previously as the client does not need to be registered on title as the owner at the time the building contract is signed. The three month requirement to commence building work, which may be extended to six months in some circumstances, will continue to start from the date the building contract (or sale of land contract for spec home sales) is signed.

Contact a HIA Workplace and Building Services

1300 650 620