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Where work has commenced on a residential building site, the builder is responsible for the ongoing protection and safety management of the site and all building works during a mandatory shut down period.
There are a range of matters beyond the building site that members will also need to manage in relation to the client, any employees, insurance and finance. This information sheet outlines matters to assist you in understanding what these issues are and the best way to deal with a very complex situation.
As soon as possible you should contact your client/s to advise them of the following:
Advise any subcontactors including suppliers that all sites will be closed and work is unable to continue due to the shutdown.
Due to the Government mandated shutdown you should talk to your employees as soon as possible to advise them that the site will be closed and they are not to attend work.
You can stand down your employees, without pay, during the shutdown period.
An employee can be stood down without pay if they cannot do useful work in limited circumstances such as a stoppage of work for which you can’t be held responsible.
An enforceable government direction preventing work on construction sites continuing is considered a stoppage of work. Therefore your employees are not required to come to site and you are not required to pay your employees during the shutdown.
Your employee/s may be entitled to Government financial assistance, such as the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, during this time.
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment provides:
Your employee/s will need to apply through Services Australia for the payment.
Alternatively your employee/s may take paid annual leave or long service leave during this time. An employee cannot take paid sick leave or compassionate leave.
HIA has other useful resources to help members understand more about managing employees during COVID-19.
If you had deliveries of materials scheduled during the shutdown period, these can still be received under the urgent work provisions:
This mandatory shutdown means the completion of the building works will be delayed by at least two weeks.
HIA contracts allow builders to seek an extension of time when the building works are delayed:
This Government mandated shutdown of the construction industry is a valid reason to claim an extension of time.
To claim an extension of time you must:
This means you should seek an extension of time for at least the shutdown period as soon as possible.
If you do not claim the extension of time in accordance with the contract, you may be unable to rely on it at a later time in the project.
To support the industry HIA has developed further information on dealing with delays.
You will have a range of insurances applicable to each of your residential building projects.
Public liability and contracts works insurance – you should check the following:
Insurance under the Home Building Compensation Fund
The client should consider contacting their financial institution regarding:
You should consider contacting your business financial institutions regarding:
HIA’s Member Alert from 18 July 2021 provides details regarding the restrictions that apply during the shutdown period.
HIA’s Site Shutdown checklist provides additional information that may assist members on how they should manage closing a home building or renovation site in accordance with the direction to stop work on construction sites.
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