Construction to re-open with heavy restrictions

The Victorian Government confirmed that the shutdown of the construction industry will end, and the construction sector can reopen on Tuesday 5 October 2021 with some heavy restrictions.

A summary of these restrictions is set out below, but a reminder that the directions are still to be published and construction players should keep up to date with the constant changes that are being announced:

  • All workers will need to carry an authorised worker permit
  • Onsite construction workers must have either one vaccination or a medical exception to return to site when the industry reopens
  • Any worker on the Authorised Worker List will need to have at least their first vaccination by 15 October 2021 and second dose by 26 November 2021
  • All construction sites must have at least one fully trained COVID marshal at all times works are carried out onsite
  • Operators need to attest (provide a declaration) that they have implemented the CHO Directions
  • Every site must have a vaccination register available for compliance checks at all times (it is anticipated that an online portal will be available on the Service Victoria website for this register)
  • Crib facilities may be used for tea rooms but with strict density requirements and additional ventilation
  • Small construction sites can have up to five workers plus a supervisor and most trades are limited to 3 sites per week
  • Large construction sites may have up to 25 percent of workers on site (with conditions on increasing this to 50% where crib rooms meet best practice and the entire workforce is vaccinated)
  • Fully vaccinated onsite workers can travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria
  • Service Victoria QF codes must be displayed for workers and visitors to the site
  • Face masks must be worn by workers at the site (unless exemption applies

It should be noted that deliveries that are made to delivery sites, where the person needs to enter the site, will need to comply with the above Directions too prior to entering the site.

It is expected that some (or all) caps will be removed when Victoria reaches its 80% target. This includes internal renovations which is currently still prohibited under the CHO Directions.

Industry participants can expect that there will be audit checks to enforce the directions and there will be hefty penalties (including fines or site shutdowns) for builders and site operators that do not comply. It is therefore important that builders obtain reasonably sufficient evidence about a worker’s vaccination status (ie, first dose, double dose, medical exemption or not vaccinated). We anticipate that the new online portal for attestations will provide further clarify around the requirement of ‘evidence’ to assist builders in this regard.

Again, we remind you to communicate with your clients, as there will no doubt be significant delays to onsite work, labour and material supplies arising from both the two-week lockdown and these ongoing COVID-Safe restriction.

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