While HIA members living and working in the bushfire affected areas across Australia were fortunate to have limited losses, the impact on the industry in these areas will be felt well into 2021. HIA staff called members in each of the affected areas and provided support where practical. A call out to the broader membership showed the strength of the Association, with offers to provide services and tools received and shared.
HIA’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage provided a simple way for anyone in the residential building industry to access resources on safety, business support and regulation changes. Combined with regular member alerts, ensuring timely information on the rapidly changing environment has been a priority for the Association.
Making space on site initiative
Given the importance of safety during the crisis, HIA released the first ‘Making space on site’ guideline on 24 March for new house sites. Since then the initiative has grown to include seven guidelines covering new home sites, renovation projects, small commercial projects, kitchens and bathrooms, display homes (by state), along with guidance for new home buyers and homeowners. The new home guide and renovation guide was published in five languages – English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
The HIA SafeScan Site Induction QR code was released on 9 April to assist people entering a work site to complete a contactless COVID-19 Site induction. To date, the combined downloads of the Site Induction poster and completions of a site induction have reached more than 45,000.
In August, Site Manager, a second QR Code, was released for sale, providing businesses with a branded QR code that can be used to sign in all workers and visitors to a site.
The bulk of member servicing during coronavirus has been through virtual platforms – phone, email and website, along with virtual meetings and events. HIA’s national team of workplace, building and planning services, assisted members throughout the pandemic. In the early stages of the Victorian shutdown, the team fielded more than 600 calls a day from Victorian members.
HIA Training reacted quickly to restrictions and within the first month of the pandemic moved more than 500 students onto online learning. This has continued even as restrictions ease and we are now looking to develop our online training offer further into 2021.