23rd April, 2020

Trades and construction restrictions in Australia and New Zealand

In this first instalment of our three-part series, Kellie Byrnes looks at the lockdown situation for tradies and trades and construction businesses in both Australia and New Zealand.

If you’re a tradie trying to work out how to stay safe, keep your workers healthy, and ensure your business remains afloat, staying up to date with current advice and legislation is a fact of life.

And, under lockdown, this has become more important than ever, as the difference between being ‘in the know’ or not could make or break your business.

You also need to take steps to insulate yourself as best you can from lockdown issues and find ways to continue bringing in jobs.

In this three-part series, we provide tips to help contractors and small trades-based businesses in Australia and New Zealand during this difficult time.

Part One: Compliance and other work-related assistance

As governments, health advisors, and others work to keep people safe and limit the number of COVID-19 cases, lockdown rules and other restrictions change over time.

This means tradies must keep an eye on updates to ensure they’re remaining compliant with various regulations from week to week.

READ: Construction shutdowns hit tradies and builders in NSW, SA

There are rules governing things such as who can work and where, the number of people allowed per space, hygiene procedures, and more.

Lockdown compliance and related information in Australia:

In Australia, learn the latest details by heading to the Australian Government’s website, where all the coronavirus news, updates, and advice is listed.

This site combines a lot of information from across various government agencies.

There, you’ll also find links to each of the relevant government websites run by each state and territory.

Keep an eye on your local region’s updates for news pertinent to working in your area.

For as-it-happens details on COVID-19 cases in Australia, and requirements and conditions for isolation, quarantine, and testing, head to the Australian Government’s Department of Health website.

You can also read updates about restrictions, suggested workplace safety tips, and other information and tools on the website of the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

The organisation created it to support home and renovation builders and trade contractors to manage all the new health and hygiene requirements.

According to a press release from Kristin Brookfield, HIA chief executive of industry policy, the solution helps workers “confirm they are taking the steps needed to protect themselves and their co-workers”.

HIA has also released, on their Making Space on Site hub, industry guidelines for managing COVID-19 on new housing sites and renovation and repair sites.

Plus, there’s a document for homeowners, to help construction personnel “give their customers peace of mind”.

Tradies can make use of the HIA’s new COVID-19 site induction tool, too.

Featuring a SafeScan QR Code, the process enables a contactless site induction for everyone who enters a building site.

Safe Work Australia has also gathered a lot of beneficial information in one spot for people providing house services.

Their website includes example email and phone scripts tradies can use when setting appointments or fielding enquires, to talk sensitively and effectively to clients about working in their homes.

Safe Work Australia also developed a helpful COVID-19 for Workplaces Pack that aims to help small businesses in the ‘fly-in, fly-out’ and ‘drive-in, drive-out’ industries.

The information pack highlights tips for proper cleaning and disinfection, but it pays to also check out your state government’s website for updates and information, and check in with local industry associations and chambers of commerce for targeted advice or support.

Lockdown compliance and related information in New Zealand:

For tradespeople in New Zealand, the tough restrictions seen in 2020 have eased, with the country currently sitting at Level 1 status, offering a level of freedom and flexibility.

But we’ve witnessed how quickly the situation can change, with recent examples in Australia, Europe and the US as the Delta variant spreads.

As such, the NZ business community will have an eye for the news, as well as checking out any updates on the New Zealand Government’s specific COVID-19 website, which breaks down any new updates for individuals and business operators according to the current restriction level.

READ: What will lockdown Level 3 mean for Kiwi businesses?

To make sure you have all bases covered, you can also regularly check out the Government’s central online resource for business information and guidance.

The website covers a raft of information and links about health and safety, workplace operations, employment, and the latest news and updates.

Also, utilise the Building System Performance (BSP) branch’s website for building and construction sector guidance. It provides policy and technical advice for the sector plus new COVID-19 tips and updates, including how to prepare your business for different Alert Levels.

In Part Two of the series, Kellie provides a roundup of current stimulus options available in Australia and New Zealand that tradies can take advantage of to help keep their businesses and bank accounts afloat.