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Rolling information for industry. Updated regularly.

The impact of COVID-19 on Victoria’s urban development sector is a key concern for the UDIA and our members.

Maintaining your business operations right now is challenging and the UDIA has built a library of resources to help you with these challenges. Our staff continue to be available to help members navigate the questions you have and we are developing new ways to engage with members and to keep delivering services and support.

UDIA Victoria is working hard on behalf of our members and the wider development industry to ensure it remains an essential and important part of the economic recovery both during and after COVID-19. As part of this we are keeping in regular contact with our members through pulse surveys and using this to guide our advocacy efforts now and into the future.


  • Quick links
 
  • Subscribe to UDIA Victoria industry emails: Click here
 
  • Business Victoria, Construction sector guidance: Click here 
  •  
  • Department of Health and Human Services, Construction Stage 4 Restrictions: Click here
 

tuesday 15 SEPTEMBER 2020

restrictions ease in regional vic from thursday

Great news for our regional Victorians who have reached the necessary “trigger point” to progress to step 3 of Victoria's roadmap to reopening from 11.59 PM Wednesday 16 September.

That means a number of changes to how regional Victorians live and work.

Click here for details.

monday 7 SEPTEMBER 2020

advocacy: re-open display homes, land sales offices, sales suites & inspections

UDIA Victoria has continued our impactful joint advocacy efforts with other industry associations, calling on the Victorian Government to prioritise the re-opening of display homes, land sales offices, sales suites and open-for-inspections, so they can re-open on an appointment basis from 28 September.  

In accordance with Stage 4 restrictions, display homes, land sales offices and sales suites have been closed completely in Metropolitan Melbourne since 8 August 2020 and are open by appointment only in regional Victoria.

Under the Victorian Government's Roadmap to Re-opening announced on 6 September 2020, these settings cannot re-open until November at best. With Spring being the strongest selling season, and December and January traditionally soft, this puts the future construction pipeline for the 2021 year under extreme threat. 

Click here to read our letter to the Premier of Victoria. 

sunday 6 SEPTEMBER 2020

victorian government's roadmap to reopening 

KEY POINTS
- Stage 4 restrictions (with minor easing) extended until 28 September.
 
- From 28 September, subject to case numbers, the building, construction and development industry can increase its activity levels:
~    Large scale construction projects: Workforce limit can increase to the higher of 85% of baseline workforce, or 15 workers.
~    Small scale construction projects: Specialist contractors can move up to five sites/week, with a maximum of two per day.
~    Early stage land development projects: Density restrictions will ease, allowing 20 workers per hectare.

Important Government guidance for each project setting: 
Industry restriction levels - early stage land development

THURSDAY 3 september 2020

covid restrictions update

Advocacy in action.

This week UDIA Victoria has been meeting daily with key government stakeholders including senior government Ministers, representatives from the Department of Health and the Chief Medical Officer’s team, the Premier’s team, and industry leaders including employer associations and unions. Together we have presented a phased approach to Government about how the building, construction and development industry activity can safely increase our activity during the weeks following Stage 4 restrictions. 


The work that UDIA Victoria did on our Roadmap to Recovery, released in May, has set us in good stead to make a strong case to Government for an urban development industry-led recovery.

Click here to see an overview of our Roadmap to Recovery.

Our industry is widely considered to have demonstrated excellence in the way we’ve managed COVID cases and mitigated COVID risk. Our Workplace Guidelines have placed us in a strong position to manage the next phase, and we have not had any COVID cases reported in our industry for the past 2 weeks. 


Government’s roadmap to re-open.

UDIA Victoria is clear on the Government’s position that the re-opening of our industry and economy is likely to be staged and will be driven by the health data and the public health response. 
There are six principles that will guide the Victorian Government’s Industry Restart Approach:

  1. Ensure physical distancing
  2. Wear a mask
  3. Practice good hygiene
  4. Act quickly if staff become unwell
  5. Avoid interactions in enclosed spaces
  6. Create workforce bubbles
     

UDIA Victoria’s members should be thinking about these principles and how your business and your team may need to change behaviour, or workplace practises to operate in a COVIDSafe way.  Access DHHS COVIDSafe planning information here.

Read the Premier’s media statement: Working together to re-open Victoria – safely.

The Victorian Government will release its re-opening roadmap this Sunday, 6 September 2020.  

Advocacy wins. 

UDIA Victoria is pleased to have secured some practical improvements on how the current Stage 4 restrictions work with respect to commencement and completion trades. These commonsense changes will help address bottlenecks being caused by the current restrictions on:

  • Trades moving around a maximum of three sites per week on small-scale construction sites.

For work carried out prior to the completion of base stage – or for work carried out after the completion of the fixing stage –  workers will no longer be limited to 3 sites per week.

  • Number of workers permitted to safely pour a concrete slab on small-scale construction sites.

More than five workers can be present on site to ensure slab-pouring is completed safely but should be the minimum number possible.

  • The point at which a project goes from being classified as an early stage land development project, to either a small- or large-scale project.

 
Read the updates on the Business Victoria website.


thursday 27 august 2020

industry's return to full capacity strategy

UDIA Victoria has joined forces with other peak bodies to send the Premier of Victoria and the Crisis Council of Cabinet an important strategy for the building, development and construction industry to return to full capacity as soon as possible.

The correspondence and strategy paper provides an update on the proactive measures and initiatives our sector has actioned and planned within the limitations of the Stage 4 restrictions.

Most importantly, it demonstrates how and why our industry is equipped to return to the former Stage 3 restrictions. Should a more cautious health-based approach be required for returning to work, the strategy paper also presents joint proactive interim measures for consideration by the Victorian Government. 

Click here to view our letter to the Premier and Return to Full Industry Capacity strategy. 

MONDAY AUGUST 24 2020

updated industry covid-19 guidelines v7

Version 7 of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry have been released.

This revision incorporates the new DHHS Directions for Stage 4 Restrictions across metro Melbourne and includes links to full details of the Restrictions and Guidance.
The Guidelines have been developed by UDIA Victoria with a united group of industry associations and unions, and informed by relevant Government authorities including WorkSafe and DHHS.

Click here to access V7 Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry
 
Click here to access the explanatory note: What's changed since V6 of the Guidelines

Continuing to comply with these Guidelines; in conjunction with information on the Business Victoria website and DHHS website; will help us facilitate the best case scenario for industry under current circumstances.

Need assistance with the Guidelines?

Industry Liaison Officer: The Victorian Government has, on the advice of industry, appointed Michael Paynter to the role of Industry Liaison Officer, engaged by the DHHS. Please ensure you engage with Michael Paynter for any assistance with the Guidelines, particularly if there are any positive COVID-19 diagnoses on any of your sites.

COVID-19 hotline for industry: A specific COVID-19 hotline has been established for the building and construction industry. This number is being managed by DHHS through a dedicated call centre set up within the Victorian Building Authority. The number is 1800 675 398.


MONDAY AUGUST 17 2020

industry win: further land tax reductions 

Residential and commercial tenants and landlords will be able to take advantage of more support throughout the coronavirus crisis, including further land tax reductions.

Residential and commercial landlords may be eligible for an increased land tax discount – now up to 50 per cent – doubled from the earlier 25 per cent. 

The Victorian Government will also extend a ban on evictions and rental increases until the end of the year, increase assistance and ensure tenant turnover is taken into account in rental negotiations.

Under the extension, evictions will continue to be banned for both residential and commercial tenancies until December 31, except in specific circumstances. Rental increases continue to be banned for the same period.

Click here for more information. 


tuesday AUGUST 18 2020

industry win: new vpa fast track program

The Minister for Planning has given the Victorian Planning Authority the go-ahead to set up a Fast Track Program overseen by a Standing Advisory Committee.

The program will fast track a list of 19 planning and infrastructure projects to unlock a targeted 89,200 homes and 107,340 jobs across Victoria.

This is great news for the urban development industry and follows the important fast track work undertaken by the Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce.

It is another positive sign that our industry in collaboration with government has proven that a faster, more rapid approach to planning and development approvals is possible, and this should become the norm rather than the exception.

Click here for more information. 


Monday august 17 2020

industry win: UPDATED workplace directions 

Over the weekend we worked hard with the Chief Medical Officer and Department of Jobs to further refine the Stage 4 directions and restrictions that apply to the building, construction and development industry. Last night, an updated version of the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions were published on the DHHS website. The updated Directions from the Public Health Commander came into force at 11.59pm last night 16 August 2020.

In a win for our industry, the 'early stage land development' definition has been expanded to include industrial, mixed-use and other development.


In another win, the list of specialist contractors has been expanded so more specialists can attend three worksites per week. This is really important for land development consultants and finishing trades.

Learn more in our industry alert here. 


wednesday AUGUST 12 2020

updated faqs on stage 4 construction industry restrictions

Detailed Q&A’s have been developed by Business Victoria providing more information on Stage 4 restrictions in the building, construction and development industry.

Click here to go to frequently asked questions about the Stage 4 construction sector guidance. 


Tuesday AUGUST 11 2020

sro homebuilder application portal is live

The application portal for the HomeBuilder scheme is now live via the State Revenue Office. 

Click here to learn more and apply for the Australian HomeBuilder Grant. 


Sunday AUGUST 9 2020

high risk covidsafe plan template

All work-sites staying open across metropolitan Melbourne must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan AND a COVIDSafe Plan, and they must be in place NOW.

Click here to access a construction industry-specific High Risk COVIDSafe Plan template on the Business Victoria website.

Important resources on the Business Victoria website include:
- Guidelines on how to prepare your COVIDSafe Plan and High Risk COVIDSafe Plan
- High Risk COVIDSafe Plan Attachment - Construction

Please ensure each and every one of your work-sites staying open in Metropolitan Melbourne areas is meeting the requirements in line with Stage 4 restrictions.

This is critical for industry and community safety, and to do our part to make sure the stage 4 lockdown is no longer than 6 weeks.


friday AUGUST 7 2020

advocacy wins for industry

In the days leading up to Stage 4 restrictions, UDIA Victoria negotiated several important guidance details that will make these 6 weeks more workable for industry, including:

  • - The allowance of supervisors and specialist trades to move between 3 work-sites per week. This is far more practical than the 1 site per week limit initially specified.
  •  
  • - COVID Safe and other important support workers to be excluded from the on-site worker limit, ensuring our industry can have more people on-site at one time, while staying safe.
  •  
  • - Broadened definition of “large-scale” construction sites, allowing more work-sites to safely have more people on-site at any one time.
  •  
  • - Confirmation that the 25% workforce limit refers to average daily workforce across the project lifecycle, rather than 25% of the workforce during lockdown. Again, this means more employees can be on-site through Stage 4 than initially proposed by Government, while still remaining safe and compliant.
  •  
  • - On small-scale construction sites, we negotiated for 5 people to be on-site, plus a supervisor at any one time. Initially the supervisor was due to be included in the 5-person headcount.
  •  
  • - We successfully demonstrated that public and private civil construction sites are low-risk activities, enabling them to continue operating as they did under Stage 3 restrictions subject to a High Risk COVID Safe Plan.
  •  
  • - Due to Stage 4 restrictions, the Federal HomeBuilder Grant has been extended in Victoria, giving applicants and industry breathing space through this lockdown period, and confidence that there will be a pipeline of buyer and builder activity on the other side.
  •  

- This is a remarkable set of advocacy achievements to be delivered in the space of one week, and demonstrates the round-the-clock work we’re doing for industry. For a broader summary of what we’ve achieved over the lifecycle of the COVID-19 crisis, please click here.

Thank you to our amazing members for your engagement and support. UDIA Victoria is now working hard to ensure the Stage 4 restrictions on industry last no longer than this 6 weeks and will continue to update you on our progress as the situation evolves. 


Friday AUGUST 7 2020

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE DIRECTIONS

The Chief Medical Officer has released legally enforceable Directions that implement the guidance and detail of Stage 4 restrictions on the building, construction and development industry - these come into effect at 11.59pm TODAY, Friday 7 August 2020.

CLICK HERE FOR A COPY OF THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS DIRECTIONS ISSUED 7PM ON 7 AUGUST 2020.

The Directions are detailed, and you need to read them thoroughly.  Here’s a summary of the key points we think you need to know right now:

All sites must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

All employees, supervisors and onsite specialists are prohibited from car-pooling, and are required to limit movement between multiple sites and use enhanced PPE measures.

A SMALL-SCALE construction site is defined as:
o   A small-scale construction site is a construction site that does not meet the definition of a large scale construction site.

Small-scale construction sites must:
o   reduce the number of people on-site to five people plus a supervisor at any one time 
o   limit movement of workers between different sites where possible, and only with appropriate guidance 
o   supervisors can move between sites and specialist contractors can move between up to three sites per week, subject to enhanced COVID safe practices. 

A LARGE-SCALE construction site is a site that is:
o    Permitted to be (at completion) more than three storeys high (excluding basement), or 
o   Larger than 1,500m2 floor size, or 
o   Any office or retail fit-out, or 
o   Industrial, large format or retail use.

Large-scale construction sites must be limited to a daily maximum of workers on site calculated as the higher of:
o   25% of their baseline workforce; and 
o   5 workers. 

All workers count towards the applicable daily worker limit with the exception of workers specifically dedicated to oversight of COVID safe functions in the workplace. 

Baseline workforce is the average daily number of workers on site across the project lifecycle, as derived from the project’s resourcing plan as at 31 July 2020. The resourcing plan and calculation are subject to audit. Project lifecycle commences from the date of on-site mobilisation and ends at handover. 

AN EARLY STAGE RESIDENTIAL LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT is defined as:
o   An early stage residential land development project comprises all civil works undertaken on open air, large greenfield sites that are associated with and preparatory to construction of multiple individual residential dwellings on that site (including site remediation and site preparation works, construction of utilities and construction of roads, bridges, stormwater/flood management works and trunk infrastructure). 
o   Once subdivision occurs, the construction of that dwelling on that part of the site is regarded as a small-scale construction project. For large scale residential development (e.g. retirement village) with a single entity responsible for construction, once dwellings are commenced, it will be considered large scale construction.

An early stage residential land development project must:
o   Follow density restrictions of no more than 10 workers per hectare. 
o   All workers count towards the density restrictions.
o   Limit movement of workers between different sites where possible, and only with appropriate guidance. 

The rule for CIVIL CONSTRUCTION is:
o   All civil works and all building and construction activities (whether publicly or privately funded) are subject to the large scale, small scale and early stage residential land development project tests and restrictions, unless those activities: 
-   constitute construction of critical and essential infrastructure (see above); or 
-   constitute critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety (as provided for by the Stage 4 Restrictions “Permitted Work Premises” published on the DHHS website (here https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/business-industry-stage-4-restrictions-covid-19)). 

Critical and essential infrastructure is:
o   Construction of critical and essential infrastructure is not subject to business operating reductions. It means: 
-   (a) construction or maintenance (including civil works and building activities) of critical and essential infrastructure that is urgently required for the purposes of sustaining human health, safety and wellbeing, regardless of whether those activities are privately or publicly funded; 
-   (b) activities prescribed by government from time to time as “State Critical Infrastructure Projects”; 
-   (c) construction and maintenance for the purposes of national security and defence; and 
-   (d) activities that are deemed by Government to have satisfied the test in (a) and endorsed by the Chief Health Officer on a case by case basis. 

What about architects, surveyors, auditors, building inspectors and engineers? 
o   Workers that provide architecture, engineering, surveying, building inspection or compliance services or statutory functions must work from home where possible.
o   Where these workers are required to attend sites for inspection and safety purposes, they are counted as workers. Workers in this category who need to move between sites should visit no more than three times a week, except where those visits are required to meet a minimum statutory obligation or requirement.

SPECIALIST CONTRACTORS that need to move between sites should visit no more than three sites per week. All workers moving between multiple sites must observe enhanced PPE and hygiene measures. 

Who are SPECIALIST CONTRACTORS?
o    Mobile Cranes – Operators and dogman 
o    Concrete trucks
o    Concrete pump operators
o    Electricians
o    Plumbers
o    Tile layers
o    Concreters
o    Gold Class riggers
o    Steel fixers
o    Post Tensioners
o    Truck Derivers
o    Vertical access Riggers 
o    Welders
o    Precast installers
o    Corkers
o    Floor layers
o    Scaffolders
o    Internal glaziers
o    Asphalters
o    Carpenters
o    Plasterers
o    Carpet Layers
o    Sprinkler Fitters
o    Solar Installers 
o    Security System Installers
 
Further information. 
Please call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 55 or visit the Business Victoria website and the Construction Industry Guidelines.

ThURSDAY AUGUST 6 2020

Construction sector guidance released, keeping us covid safe

UDIA Victoria has negotiated several guidance details that will make the next 6 weeks a little more workable, while supporting government's COVID-19 response. 

Key points: Construction sector guidance.

 
- All sites must have a High Risk COVID Safe Plan in place, which includes a requirement for COVID Safe workers (excluded from on-site worker limits). This will help keep our industry open and safe. 
 
- ADVOCACY WIN: On both small-scale and large-scale construction sites, supervisors and specialist trades can move between up to 3 sites per week, subject to enhanced COVID safe practices. This is much more workable for industry.
 
- ADVOCACY WIN: COVID Safe and other important support workers do not count towards the on-site worker limit, these include:  
~workers undertaking emergency repairs and maintenance
~staff specifically dedicated to oversight of COVID safe functions in the workplace e.g. workers doing additional cleaning of high-touch points or overseeing the implementation of COVID safe practices.
 
- On all worksites no more than one worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace is allowed.
 
- Employees, supervisors and on-site specialists may not car-pool and required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace.
 
- Worksite limits and COVID Safe Plans will be randomly spot checked and audited. You must have these in place by 11.59pm Friday. 

Large-scale construction sites.

 
- ADVOCACY WIN: Definition of ‘large scale’ has been broadened and for the purposes of these guidelines is:
~More than three storeys exc. basement, or
~Larger than 1,500m2 or
~Any office or retail fit-out, or
~Industrial, large format or retail use
 
- ADVOCACY WIN: Work-sites may have a maximum of 25% of their baseline workforce, being the average daily number of personnel on-site across the project lifecycle, as derived from the project’s written resourcing plan as of July 2020. These worksites can operate with 25 per cent of their daily peak and daily total workforce.

Small scale residential construction sites.

 
- ADVOCACY WIN: May have maximum of 5 people on-site, plus a supervisor at any one time. This means that now, one supervisor is permitted in addition to the 5 people on-site.

Public and private civil construction sites.

 
- ADVOCACY WIN: Public and private civil works will be treated the same under Stage 4 restrictions. This means that land development and civil construction can continue, so we can keep building new houses in Melbourne’s growth areas.
 
- Civil construction sites, like all construction sites, are required to have a High Risk COVID Safe Plan. They are not subject to additional restrictions because they are considered low-risk activities, usually in the open air.

Access the full construction sector guidance on the Business Victoria website now.
 
Please note: We have been advised that this guidance does not become official until it is issued by the Chief Health Officer in the form of legally enforceable Directions. We expect this to be done tomorrow and will issue to members as soon as we receive them.


thursday AUGUST 6 2020

Clarity on 'permitted work', employee permits

Permitted work

 
Employers for Permitted Work Premises may only have employees on-site if it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to work from home and the employer and employee comply with the stage 4 Directions in force.
 
The following on-site operations in the construction sector are listed as permitted in the current Stage 4 Restrictions Permitted Work Premises Table: 
 
- Building and non-building construction (including residential)
- Construction of critical and essential infrastructure and services to support these projects, and other construction in line with restrictions
- Critical repairs to any premises, are allowed, where required for emergency or safety

Worker permits

 
From 11:59pm last night, employers that require staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility.
 
All information on the Worker Permit Scheme is on the DHHS website here including:
 
- General info
- Eligibility
- Information employers will need
- How to issue a worker permit
- Childcare permit
- Download worker permit form 
 
You should carry your worker permit (electronic is fine), and photo ID, when travelling to and from the workplace.
 

Access to onsite childcare/kinder permit scheme

 
For on-site employees.
The Permitted Worker Permit (including childcare) form includes an addendum for permitted workers who are still required to attend work on-site and who don’t have anyone else in the household who can supervise their children (i.e. other parent is also a permitted worker, or it's a single parent household).
 
For off-site employees.
The Access to Childcare and Kinder (Working from Home) form is for permitted workers who are working from home but unable to supervise their children in the course of their duties and who don’t have anyone else in the household who can supervise them (i.e. other parent is also a permitted worker, or it's a single parent household).
 
Click here to see the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme and Access to Onsite Childcare/Kindergarten Permit Scheme Directions.

Please contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15 if you have a specific question about the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme that can’t be answered by the information on this DHHS page.


THURSDAY AUGUST 6 2020

covid safe plan template

Those permitted to continue on-site operations during stage 4 restrictions will need to have a COVID Safe Plan in place.
 
Master Builders Victoria has created a template for the construction industry to use that has been informed by the Building and Construction COVID-19 Industry Guidelines version 6. You can access the template here.


WEDNESDaY AUGUST 5 2020

INDUSTRY WIN: HOMEBUILDER EXTENDED FOR VICTORIA

In light of the introduction of Stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne (effective from 2 August 2020) and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria (effective from 5 August 2020), the Commissioner of State Revenue will exercise his discretion under the National Partnership Agreement to provide a blanket extension of 3 months to the construction commencement requirement for the HomeBuilder Grant.
 
This means that all applicants for the HomeBuilder Grant in Victoria have 6 months from the signing of the eligible HomeBuilder contract, to commence construction. The Commissioner does not have discretion to grant any extensions beyond this additional 3 month extension.
 
Click here to view the HomeBuilder Grant Guidelines on the State Revenue Office - Victoria website.

This is a major win for UDIA Victoria’s members, for our entire industry and most importantly, for Victorian homebuyers and homebuilders.
 
It gives applicants and industry breathing space through the Stage 4 lockdown period, and hope that there will be a pipeline of buyer and builder activity on the other side.
 
We have been working tirelessly with the Victorian State Revenue Office and warmly welcome this blanket extension.


TUESDAY AUGUST 4 2020

INDUSTRY WIN: LAND USE VIC CONTINUES THROUGH STAGE 4

UDIA Victoria has today been advised from Land Use Victoria (Land Registry Services) that they will continue to deliver their full suite of services under the Stage 4 restrictions. This is a small win for industry in these uncertain times, as we have been re-assured the LUV is committed to staying open and productive in collaboration with Victoria’s building, development and construction industry.
 
Working together to get your titles faster

 
To further increase efficiency, LUV requests industry give them as much advance notice as possible when planning to lodge any major plans of subdivision so they can plan and resource appropriately. You can find out how to best contact the Land Registry Services here: https://www.propertyandlandtitles.vic.gov.au/contact-us#LRS
 
Managing expectations
 
Due to current circumstances, LUV asks industry to expect and factor in a 7-day turnaround (rather than the standard 5-day turnaround time), when lodging forms for property transactions and dealings (for example, subdivision plans). As always, system efficiency also relies heavily on industry to ensure all land transactions meet the lodging requirements.
 
UDIA Victoria recognises and commends Land Use Victoria for the hard work they’re doing to keep our industry’s projects moving amidst constantly changing circumstances. Our work with LUV demonstrates the importance of all players in our industry to engage, collaborate and support one another.
 
We’re in this together, and we can be proud of the great job we are doing, together.  


tuesday AUGUST 4 2020

update: stage 4 industry RESTRICTIONS still being finalised

Yesterday’s announcement left many unanswered questions. The Victorian Government is aware of this and we're working with DHHS and decision-makers to refine the details.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

- Directives are being drafted by DHHS, which will govern implementation of the restrictions. These will be released as soon as finalised in the next 48 hours.

- For now, the only info available is listed in our industry alert: click here to read it

 

- We're working through many priority issues for industry, particularly: implications for land development and civil works, 25% capacity rule on large projects, and movement of tradespeople between projects.

- The changes come into force 11.59pm Friday. We're working to get you the info needed to enact the changes by that time.

WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?

- Read our industry alert here and prepare to comply with staff reduction targets as much as possible, given limited info available.

- Take steps to enact the appropriate COVID Safe Plan by Friday 11.59pm; info here. 

- Check DHHS website regularly & subscribe to our email updates by clicking here.

Take care.

MONDAY AUGUST 3 2020
changes to victoria's business restrictions


The Premier Daniel Andrews today announced that from 11.59pm on Friday 7 August 2020, Victoria's building, construction and development industry will not completely close, but must dramatically reduce the number of workers on-site for the next 6 weeks. 

This includes: 

Mandated reductions to the number of workers onsite to allow the industry to keep ticking
  •  
  • - ​Large scale construction
    • Any building construction project of more than three storeys (excluding basement)
    • Maximum of 25 per cent of normal employees on site compared to normal operations
    • Must have High Risk COVID Safe Plan
    • Must demonstrate not blending shifts and workers can only work at one site during Stage 4​​
    •  
  • ​- Small scale construction
    • Any building construction project of three storeys or less (excluding basement)
    • Maximum of five workers (including supervisors)
    • Universal COVID Safe Plan
    • Must demonstrate not blending shifts and workers can only work at one site during stage 4
    •  
  • - State and state civil construction (including time critical new school builds) are exempt from reduction targets but will be required to implement High Risk COVID Safe Plan.
     
  • Industry will have until 11:59pm Friday 7 August to enact a COVID Safe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace. More information on the COVID Safe Plan here.
     
  • Additional requirements will include extra PPE, staggering shifts, staggering breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home.
     
  • These changes will be enforceable and the onus will be on employers to make sure they’re doing the right thing by their workers, including ensuring those with symptoms do not come to work.
     
  • For those businesses and industries that fall into grey areas when it comes to their operation, the dedicated Industry Coordination Centre within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will consider their case.
  •  

Click here to read the Premier's statement on changes to Melbourne business restrictions.

Click here to see summary of all stage 4 restrictions for businesses and industries. 

The Premier has not ruled out further business support for affected businesses and industries. 

We know what a huge impact these changes will have on our industry, and that there are several outstanding questions. 

We will communicate with you regularly as we get more information this week. Stay in touch by checking our emails, following us on LinkedIn, and you can subscribe your team to our mailing list by directing them here.


monday august 3 2020
message from the ceo: keep industry open through stage 4 restrictions
 

Our CEO Danni Hunter has written to industry members, recognising what an incredibly important day this is for our industry and outlining our advocacy activities over the last 24 hours.

Click here to read the message from the CEO. 

We are doing everything we can to make a case to the Victorian Government sundayto maintain our essential industry status.

We are urging the Government to keep the industry open as an essential industry, but with enhanced worksite management practises and mandatory, consistent contact tracing.

- Over the past 24 hours, we've been briefing, advising and negotiating with the Premier, senior Ministers, key advisors, departmental heads and public servants non-stop.  

- UDIA Victoria is proposing a highly controlled and scaled down building, construction and development sector that reflects the seriousness of Stage 4. In scaling down the number of individuals on a site, we have requested an extension of worksite hours. 

- We've sent a letter to to the Premier and a Briefing Paper, containing several key recommendations to enhance worksite measures including mandatory contact tracing consistently applied across the industry. These will be key to building on the strong work already being done by industry and to guaranteeing low levels of cases on worksites.

- We are confident that we have made a strong case for the Victorian Government to maintain the building, construction and development industry as an essential industry through the Stage 4 restrictions.


sunday AUGUST 2 2020
changes to victoria's RESTRICTIONS
 

The Victorian Government today announced we are moving to a new set of lock-down rules to limit movement and the number of people we come in contact with over the next six weeks. 

Click here to read the Premier's statement on changes to Melbourne’s restrictions.

Click here to read the Premier's statement on changes to regional restrictions.

Tomorrow the Victorian Government will be making additional announcements about how work will change, and how industries will be impacted. The announcements are expected to affect industries in one of three ways:  

  1. No impact: Some industries and businesses including supermarkets and medical services,  will stay open.
  2. Reduce total output: Other industries will reduce total output by having less people working less shifts, leading to less contact between people.
  3. Close completely: There will be industries that will close completely.

UDIA Victoria has spent the last 24 hours conferencing almost hourly with senior Ministers including the Treasurer and Planning Minister, as well as senior advisors to the Premier and senior public servants. 

We have provided advice and information about how the building, construction and development industry has been incredibly effective at managing COVID-19 and as a result, we have seen low numbers relating to worksites, and swift management of any outbreaks.  We have worked with other employer associations, unions and Worksafe to categorically show the low number of COVID-19 cases in our industry, and our swift ability to manage any outbreaks.

Click here to read our joint letter to the Premier, communicating how our industry is staying safe, and keeping many hundreds of businesses viable during and after this pandemic.

We are continuing our advocacy to keep our industry open and operating for as long as it is safe to do so. But we know that further restrictions are being considered to be imposed on the building, construction and development industry.  We are providing advice to those making these decisions about the impacts on our industry and are also assisting with the consideration of the different settings in the industry, and the practical differences between worksites and their ability to manage health and safety measures effectively.

We will update the industry as soon as possible tomorrow about the Victorian Government's business update and how it affects our industry specifically. 


wednesday JULY 29 2020
advocacy win: homebuilder broadened
 

In a major win for our members and Victorian homebuyers, UDIA Victoria has successfully advocated for the broadening of HomeBuilder eligibility requirements.
 
UDIA Victoria has worked with the Victorian State Revenue Office (SRO) on how new homebuyers enter contracts under the HomeBuilder scheme, resulting in a significant SRO update that should see more Victorians get the $25,000 grant.
 
Key points

  • - Off-the-plan buyers now have over 24 months (until October 31, 2022) to have their name registered on the certificate of title. Buyers will be paid the $25,000 once registered on the title.
  •  
  • For contracts to build, buyers must be registered on title as owner of the land by no later than the laying of foundations and the first progress payment is made. The grant will be paid at this point.  
  •  
  • - SRO has made clear that buyers who signed contracts before June 4, are not eligible for the grant, and warned against cancelling contracts in an attempt to take advantage of the grant. This is an important update that should encourage parties to respect contracts that they have already entered.
 
  • - Commencement has been defined as excavation and site preparation works for any new builds, and works under the renovation contract for existing homes.
  •  
  • - HomeBuilder grant extensions are likely for delays caused by:
    • ~council approvals
    • ~obtaining materials or subcontractors
    • ~bad weather
    • ~industrial disputes
    • ~natural disasters
    • ~serious illness or death in the construction team
 
  • - HomeBuilder grant extensions are unlikely for delays resulting from buyer failure to undertake appropriate due diligence when entering into a contract. This includes if the contracted builder has more work than reasonably expected to be finished in the three months (however warranty insurance requirements should prevent builders from taking on too many projects); and if a developer has set pre-development sales targets that have not yet been met.


This update ensures Victorians counting on HomeBuilder can buy with confidence knowing that as long as their new home settles in the timeframe and construction commences, they will be eligible for the grant. This is reliant on buyers and developers both having a fair and realistic understanding of time frames before signing contracts.

We commend the team at the SRO for working with us to get a good outcome for Victorians.
 
Click here for more information on HomeBuilder eligibility and application processes: SRO HomeBuilder Grant Guidelines.
 


TUESDAY JULY 28 2020
INDUSTRY guidelines updated

 
Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry Victoria (Revision 6) have been updated to:

  • - Incorporate new OHS regulations requiring employers and self-employed people to notify WorkSafe immediately on becoming aware that an employee or an independent contractor or a contractor’s employee has received a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and has attended the workplace during the infectious period;
  •  
  • - Clarify that a worker who has been in casual contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, may be required to be tested;
  •  
  • - Emphasise the importance of temperature testing;
  •  
  • - Clarify the need for a worker to get tested if they experience symptoms; and
  •  
  • - Communicates the Government’s one-off $300 payment available to support workers if required to self-isolate while they wait for test results.

 
Click here to read the Explanatory Note.

Click here to download the COVID-19 Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry Victoria (Revision 6)


Tuesday JULY 28 2020
building, construction & Development industry working to keep victoria safe 
 

UDIA Victoria has written to the Premier in collaboration with other industry associations to demonstrate that we can keep our workforce and industry safe, and keep many hundreds of businesses viable during and after this pandemic.

We have attached a joint Building, Construction and Development Industry COVID-19 Working to Keep Victoria Safe paper that provides the Premier with further detail of our initiatives and collaboration. The paper also requests that the open dialogue with the Victorian Government continues as we collectively navigate future phases of this pandemic. 

Click here to read the letter and Building, Construction and Development Industry COVID-19 Working to Keep Victoria Safe paper. 


THURSDAY JULY 23 2020
submission to sro re: homebuilder
 

UDIA Victoria is working with the State Revenue Office and Victorian Government officials as they work to finalise the HomeBuilder application and approval process.

Collective concern for the building, construction and development industry has brought the UDIA Victoria and Master Builders Victoria (MBV) together across a range of policy and industry-led initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have made a joint submission with MBV, and are coordinating an industry meeting with the SRO to discuss our submission. 

thursday JULY 23 2020
new modelling: vic economy
 

Slumps in employment, trade and economic activity means that Gross State Product in Victoria is forecast to fall by 5.25 per cent this calendar year.

The new data shows the ramifications the health crisis is having on Victoria’s revenue, with taxation and GST revenue expected to be around $8.5 billion lower over the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years compared with pre-pandemic forecasts – as a result of lower property tax revenue, declining payroll tax, and reduced GST.

Click here for more info.


tuesday JULY 21 2020
 
jobkeeper extension


The Federal Government has announced that JobKeeper will be extended to March 28 2021, but scaled down over six months from 28 Sep 2020.

Payments will drop from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight for full time employees, and drop to $1,000 for FTE by March 2021.

Payments for part time employees (20 hours or less a week) will drop to $750 initially, and then $650.

More info here.


saturday JULY 18 2020
covid-19 guidance: multi-dwelling properties with shared facilities 


Residential multi-dwelling developments with shared facilities represent a risk of coronavirus
transmission between neighbouring residents, compared to single dwelling or lower density residential buildings.

This document provides advice to managers and operators of multi-dwelling buildings in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire on how to limit the potential for transmission of coronavirus between residents, staff and visitors, and comply with directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer under Stay at Home Restrictions.

‘Multi dwelling buildings’ includes, but is not limited to:
- Low, mid and high-rise residential apartment buildings
- Student accommodation
- Long term accommodation rentals
- Townhouses with shared facilities
- Single room occupancy properties with shared facilities
- Mixed use properties where there is residential component with shared facilities.

Click here to access the guidelines. 


thursday JULY 16 2020
 
updated homebuilder guidance


Updated guidance confirms HomeBuilder applies to sales contracts between buyers and developers (as is commonly the case on off-the-plan apartment and townhouse projects).

The updated guidance also covers:
- Timing of the payment – depending on whether the project is a new build, a renovation, or off-the-plan and new home purchase.
- Confirmation that the states and territories will have strong discretion to extend the three-month window for commencing construction when unforeseen or other delays occur.

Additionally, two technical issues have been clarified:
- All applicants under the scheme must be Australian citizens (not permanent residents).
- There will be limited application to retirement and land lease communities, given they require the applicant to be on the certificate of title and own both land and dwelling.

View the updated guidance material here.

There are two main elements still requiring clarification:

  • - More precise guidance around how the potential for a three-month extension to the window for commencing construction will work, and;
  • - The definition of commencement of construction – which we believe needs to be as broad as possible.


We will be working with the Victorian Government to resolve these issues.  

 


WEDNESDAY july 15 2020

UPDATED VERSION OF COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDELINES


An updated Version 5 of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry, dated 14 July, has been released today.

For our industry to stay safe and operational, all members of the sector must observe the current guidelines on all building, construction and development sites.

Please refer to the following links to reference critical safety information:

UDIA Victoria encourages all industry members to wear masks in certain activities and undertake temperature testing on sites where practicable. 

Employer associations and unions worked together swiftly in the first wave of COVID-19, and we are doing so again. The guidelines have been developed by UDIA Victoria in conjunction with a united group of industry associations and unions, and informed by relevant Government authorities including WorkSafe and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. 


WEDNESDAY JULY 15 2020

COVID-19 INDUSTRY contacts

Industry Liaison Officer: The Victorian Government has, on the advice of industry, appointed Michael Paynter to the role of Industry Liaison Officer, engaged by the Department of Health and Human Services. Contact Mr Paynter here.

 

 
  • COVID-19 hotline: A hotline has been established for the building and construction industry. This number is being managed by DHHS through a dedicated call centre set up within the Victorian Building Authority. The number is 1800 675 398.

FRIDAY JULY 10 2020
 
more public transport services 
 

The Victorian Government is adding hundreds of new train and tram services to the state’s busiest lines every week to give passengers more choice on when they travel and help maintain physical distancing across the network.

From Monday 13 July, 95 extra train services on either side of the morning and afternoon peaks will be added to the metropolitan network each week, making it easier to stagger travel times and physically distance on services.

The Sunbury, Craigieburn, Werribee, Mernda, Dandenong, Ringwood and Glen Waverley lines will each get an extra 10 services per week and the Hurstbridge line will see five new services each week.

The Frankston and Sandringham lines will also get an extra 10 services per week from Monday 27 July, once level crossing removal works on the Frankston line are complete.

On the tram network, two new shuttle routes will run along Collins St – one during weekday peak periods along St George’s Road, Brunswick Street and Collins Street using large E Class trams, and the second for up to 19 hours each day between Victoria Harbour and St Vincent’s Plaza via Collins St.

To reduce congestion on Collins Street, Route 30 will be replaced with the Route 12 which will be diverted to La Trobe Street, providing alternative travel options within the CBD and additional capacity on La Trobe Street.


friday JULY 10 2020
 
extra government support for vic businesses 
 

The Victorian Government has announced a $534 million Business Support Package.

The latest measures include cash grants for struggling businesses, mental health support for business owners and tailored advice for businesses to adapt, stay afloat and then bounce back on the other side.

Businesses will benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

The Government will expand the Business Support Fund (previouslt available to the 12 postcodes linked to outbreaks) and provide more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions.

A $26 million investment in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.

Many businesses will need to change the way they do things in order to remain sustainable, while others are dealing with challenges such as cash flow, reduced sales and debt for the very first time. The Government will establish a $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.

The package also provides a $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds, as well as marketing campaigns to boost region to region visitation while Melbourne is locked down. 


tuesday JULY 7 2020

summary of restrictions for industry: return to stage 3


From 11.59am Wednesday 8 July, Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will return to Stage 3 "stay at home" restrictions. For Victoria's urban development industry operations specifically, this affects:

  • - Display homes 
  • - Land sales offices 
  • - Sales suites 
  • - Open-for-inspections 
  • - Auctions 
  •  

These operations will go back to operating remotely as much as possible, and inspections by appointment are strongly encouraged. 

Building, development and constructions worksites will remain open as an essential service and must operate under the most recent version of the COVID-19 Industry Guidelines.

  • - Download your copy of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry (version 4, updated 24 June 2020): Click here.
     
  • - Find out what’s changed since the previous Industry Guidelines in the Explanatory Note: Click here.
  •  

If you are a member of UDIA Victoria with essential employees travelling across restricted areas to a worksite, please contact us to obtain a letter your employee(s) can present on request. To obtain this letter, you must confirm you are a member of UDIA Victoria for 2020-21. Please email us on admin@udiavic.com.au.

Statement from the Premier including summary of changes to restrictions: Click here


WEDNESDAY JUly 1 2020

Victoria's continued commitment to the construction sector

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has reaffirmed the importance of the building, construction and development sector to the Victorian economy.

In his Statement of Continued Commitment to the Construction Sector, the Treasurer thanks the industry for keeping many Victorian workers safe and for staying open through the pandemic.

He commits to continuing the collaborative approach that has guided us all well during the crisis period.

UDIA Victoria 
continues to work proactively and productively with the Victorian Treasurer and the Victorian Government on behalf of our members.
tuesday june 30 2020

udia victoria calls for overhaul of vacant residential land tax
 
We have developed a strong case for Government to consider overhauling the Vacant Residential Land Tax. 

The impacts of COVID-19 on the rental market and on developers is likely going to increase the vacancy levels of new residential dwellings, and the VRLT will act as a disincentive to development activity. We have therefore called for the VRLT to be scrapped in order to remove this burden on new residential dwellings.

Click here to read our case for reform. 

wednesday JUNE 24 2020

updated version of covid-19 industry guidelines

An updated version of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry has been released.

The increase in positive coronavirus cases in the community, brings a heightened risk of COVID-19 appearing on site, but with continued diligence in applying the most current Industry Guidelines, including effective screening of workers coming to site, physical distancing etc., sites can be safe from transmission. 

Find out what’s changed since the previous Industry Guidelines in the Explanatory Note.

Download your copy of the COVID-19 Guidelines for Victoria’s Building and Construction Industry (version 4, updated 24 June 2020) 
TuesdaY JUNE 23 2020

udia victoria calls for building victoria's recovery taskforce extension
 
We have written to Treasurer Pallas and Minister Wynne in recent weeks to articulate our support for the work of the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce and urging them to consider extending the Taskforce with a mandate focussed on implementation and supporting industry through the recovery period.
 
We have also urged them to consider establishing a Standing Advisory Committee comprised of industry members to provide advice and feedback from the sector to inform policy responses and decisions.

Click here to read the letter. 

monDAY JUNE 15 2020

new vic business growth fund

Treasurer Tim Pallas today opened the $250 million Victorian Business Growth Fund – a program that will see Government partner with First State Super and back small-to-medium enterprises who want to grow but can’t raise the funds or find the right investment partner.

The Victorian Business Growth Fund is a Victorian-first initiative that will invest in business on commercial terms and take an equity stake in business, rather than providing a grant. These investments will help drive permanent, high-skilled jobs in priority areas of the economy, including jobs for people who are unemployed, jobs for apprentices or jobs for people attempting to reskill.

For more information about the Victorian Business Growth Fund or to apply online, visit dtf.vic.gov.au/businessgrowthfund

friDAY JUNE 12 2020

ADVOCACY progress: taskforce considering moratorium on taxes 

The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has written to UDIA Victoria, advising that he has asked the Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce (BVRT) to seriously consider our proposal to place a moratorium on new residential development charges and policy changes during the coronavirus situation, as well as our proposed assessment criteria for fast tracking shovel-ready projects.

The BVRT is currently preparing its advice to government on a pathway forward to Victoria’s road to recovery from COVID-19. We are encouraged by Minister Wynne's letter advising us that he has asked them to consider UDIA Victoria's advice. 

Click here to see our letter advocating for a moratorium on new residential development charges and policy changes.

Click here to see our Proposed Criteria for Assessment of Shovel-Ready Projects here.

Click here for more information on the BVRT.

THURSDAY JUNE 11 2020

ADVocacy in action: udia urging councils & vcat to unlock $10b of development activity 

UDIA Victoria is featured in a front-page article in The Australian today (cont. page 4), advocating for development projects to be assessed faster, particularly in light of the time-constrained HomeBuilder program.

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Our CEO Danni Hunter is pictured on-site with UDIA Victoria Board Member Andrew Fortey. 
 

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