By: Adam Ioannidis

As many of our Victorian clients will be aware – the state is now under stage four restrictions which have a larger impact on the construction industry compared to the last three stages. As online construction cost consultants, we’re able to lend our services to builders, contractors and architects all over Australia – even with the harshest of COVID-19 restrictions. However, we’re taking a moment to discuss the restrictions for our Victorian clientele to reduce confusion.

What do stage four restrictions entail?

Until the 16th of September, several Victorian businesses such as those in the retail sector will be temporarily closing. Citizens will not be allowed to travel more than 5km from their homes and will only be able to exercise for up to an hour per day. There is also a curfew that restricts people from being outside of their home’s from 8pm to 5am – and, only one person from each household will be able to shop for groceries at a time once per day. So, how does this affect the construction industry?

Operating on a “pilot light”

The construction industry – which has remained largely unaffected up until this point – will be moving “to pilot light levels” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. What this means is that work sites will have to adhere to having the minimum amount of people on-site required for safety. This will minimise the risk of exposure and ensure the industry can keep thriving in the current climate. 

With this in mind, the maximum number of people on-site at any one given time cannot exceed 25% of the total project’s workforce – with smaller projects having no more than a maximum of five people. The definitions of large and small worksites are defined by projects having three storeys or more and three storeys or less respectively (both excluding basements).

Some other points that must be considered:

  • There can be no shift blending and workers are only authorised to work on a single construction site during the six-week period.
  • A COVID safe plan must be in place for construction to continue. High-risk plans for large construction projects and universal plans for small ones.
  • Any small construction projects that involve state or civil buildings will be exempt from the five-person maximum provided they have a high-risk COVID safe plan in place. An example would be time-sensitive new school builds.
  • If you’re working on an active job site from Thursday the 6th of August, then you must have a valid workers permit.

Concerns from the builders

The chief executive of Master Builders Victoria, Rebecca Casson, has stated that there are a lot of “unanswered questions” surrounding things such as how liquidated damage will be treated and what falls under critical infrastructure. Many firms are finding it easier to simply shut down over the next six weeks for various reasons. For one, a lot of builders rely on working on multiple sites which the current restrictions impede in an attempt to mitigate people spreading unnecessarily.

Another key reason relates to large construction sites only being allowed a maximum of a quarter of their workforce on-site. This has raised concerns that certain labour-intensive tasks may not be safe to do, prompting the solution to just put projects on hold for the duration of stage four restrictions.

Projected economic repercussions

The construction industry makes up approximately 8.5% of Victoria’s workforce and 13% of the state’s economy – having been described by Premier Andrews as “the lifeblood of our economy”. Some builders have estimated that they’ll be losing around $456 million in revenue per day. Big four firm KPGM has also estimated that this month’s economic contribution from the construction sector will be down 2.5% – or $830 million – with the firm’s chief economist, Brendan Rynne, warning that September could potentially be “worse than August”.

Business as usual for Accent Estimating

Whilst the construction industry has taken a hit under the new restrictions the cost estimation industry is still going strong. Accent Estimating is at your service for all your cost estimation needs and operating at full capacity through the current restrictions. Our construction cost consultants can deliver accurate and efficient cost estimations whether you’re in Victoria or anywhere else in Australia thanks to our entirely contactless business model.

If you’d like to get in touch with our construction cost consultants – then please don’t hesitate to fill out the contact form on our website or call 0413 953 869.