Since 6pm on Sunday 2 August, Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions have been enforced upon metropolitan Melbourne. These restrictions have resulted in far-reaching consequences, and Victorians whose homes are under construction face particularly difficult challenges.
Currently, more than 60,000 homes are under construction in Victoria. This includes 6,000 new homes that have been put on hold despite the completion of construction being imminent.
Stage 4 restrictions have meant that tradespeople are limited to only being able to visit three sites per week. For many tradespeople, who are used to working across multiple sites simultaneously, this has significantly hindered their ability to work.
Additionally, the restrictions have limited the number of home builders allowed on site at a given time to five people. In addition, crossover shifts are banned.
As such, not only has the construction industry been affected by these limitations, the construction delays have placed a significant financial and emotional burden upon thousands of Victorians and their families.
For example, delays in the completion of new homes is likely to result in financial stress, including additional ongoing rental costs, mortgage payments on homes that are still incomplete, and uncertainty regarding when work will be able to fully resume again.
This is already a challenging and difficult period for many Victorians and the added burden of being unable to complete their new home’s construction will undoubtedly test home buyers’ patience, mental health, and finances.
It is estimated that these restrictions may cost the construction and building industry approximately $450 million per day, which accounts for 300,000 workers and 13% of the state’s economy.
Housing Industry Australia (HIA) have suggested that Stage 4 restrictions be adjusted in order to allow construction workers to continue residential construction. In particular, allowing finishing trades – who predominantly work alone – to complete home building projects will help many Victorian home buyer to complete the construction of their homes and move in.
“With some fine tuning to the Stage 4 parameters, the industry will be better positioned to significantly reduce the impact on Victorian families," said Fiona Nield, the Executive Director of HIA.
Stage 4 Restrictions for Construction Sites
As of Saturday 8 August, construction sites in Melbourne were required to adopt several changes in order to abide by the state’s Stage 4 restrictions. This includes:
- All sites are required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place that is regularly updated
- No more than one worker is allowed per four square metres of an enclosed space
- Employees, supervisors and on-site specialists are prohibited from carpooling to or from work
- Employees, supervisors and on-site specialists are required to inform their employer if they live with anyone who works in a high-risk environment
- Employees, supervisors and on-site specialists must limit movement between workplaces and must observe increased hygiene and PPE measures when working between sites
- Small-scale construction sites are only able to have five workers plus a supervisor on-site at any given time