How Stage 4 Restrictions Affect the Management of your Buildings

How Stage 4 Restrictions Affect the Management of your Buildings

The introduction of stage 4 restrictions in Victoria under the Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Areas) (no 8) issued by the Public Health Commander under s200 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic) has seen significant and sweeping changes. From 11.59pm Wednesday 5 August 2020, workplaces must have closed unless they are part of a permitted activity. We consider how these changes may affect your buildings in the stage 4 restriction zones for the period 2 August – 13 September 2020.
 

Maintenance

The advice from Landscaping Victoria is that domestic gardening services, including body corporate work carried out under a fixed contract, is a non-essential service and cannot be provided after 11.59pm on 5 August 2020.

Emergency or urgent works are exempt. The guidelines do not define an emergency or health and safety issue, but would probably include interrupted essential services, structural defects and urgent plumbing repairs.

Developments which include public retail spaces containing permitted businesses (shopping centres, educational facilities and medical suites) can continue with essential commercial maintenance for the safety and upkeep of those spaces.

 

Cleaning

The Permitted Work Premises for the purposes of the Restricted Activity Direction (Restricted Areas) (No 6) effective 5 August 2020 v 1.0 identifies cleaning as a permitted work where required to maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or work. Common areas and facilities should be cleaned twice daily, including lift buttons, common door handles, handrails, switches, taps, table and chairs and kitchens.

 

Current Construction

From 11.59pm on Friday 7 August 2020, large scale (more than 3 storeys excluding the basement) construction sites must reduce workers to 25% of the normal workforce. Small scale (3 storeys or less excluding the basement) site cannot have more than 5 workers. This may mean work takes longer than expected. Critical repairs to premises are allowed where required for emergency or safety and do not appear subject to the above restrictions. Flammable cladding repairs may fall into this category.
 

Retail Spaces

For buildings with retail spaces, please refer to the Permitted Works Premises or contact us for details specific to your premises. Generally, pubs, bars, personal care services and film processing centres are to close. Early childhood centres (for permitted workers and vulnerable children), newsagencies, food outlets, convenience stores, locksmiths, laundries and dry cleaners can remain open.
 

Common Facilities

Non-essential facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, saunas, BBQ areas and playgrounds must remain closed. If an area cannot be locked, tape or signage should be used to restrict access.

The following essential facilities can remain open: entry, lifts, stairs, pathways, bathrooms (where guests do not have their own), toilets, laundry, communal kitchens, letter boxes, waste disposal, car parking and storage. Where possible, communal areas should apply the ‘four-square’ meter rule, although this is not a legal requirement. Signage is available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/promotional-material-coronavirus-covid-19
https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/translated-resources-coronavirus-disease-covid-19 (translated).

 

Deliveries and Uber Eats

Deliveries of groceries, food and packaging should be collected from the ground floor entry where possible and appropriate. Buildings can also request non-residents sign in if they will be on the premises longer than 15 minutes. The non-resident must consent to provide this information and records can be destroyed after 28 days.

 

Short Stay Accommodation

Short stay accommodation cannot operate during stage 4.

 

New Tenants

If at the start of the restricted period, a person has scheduled to settle on or lease a new residential property, that dealing can continue during stage 4.
 

What to do if there is an Outbreak?

If a building has a reported case of COVID-19, you should immediately contact your local health state office or the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. You may need to arrange for a deep clean of the building and common areas by a registered cleaning company with protective personal equipment.

 

Penalties

Police are conducting spot checks at strata buildings. There are severe penalties for breaches of the rules, including on the spot fines of up to $1,652.00 for individuals and $9,913.00 for businesses who breach the scheme requirements.

 

Takeaways

You may have already established a property plan for your building(s), which can be reviewed in light of the further restrictions. Clarifications regarding the new rules is still being delivered by the government, Chief Medical Officer and relevant state departments. This circular is our best interpretation of the rules on the current information and is subject to change.

 

If you would like further advice on owners corporation management matters, James and Fabienne can be contacted by email at JCollier@moray.com.au and  FLoncar@moray.com.au or by telephone +61 3 9600 0877 Moray & Agnew
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