To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO desk (Addendum).

Good evening.

Timing is an amazing thing.  As we circulated my CEO update this evening, the revised Stage 4 Construction Guidance note was endorsed and released by Government as per the below link, which I am forwarding as an addendum to my previous update.

I wish to draw you attention to the new categorisation on “early stage residential land development” sites which will:

  • follow density restrictions of no more than 10 workers per hectare;  
  • all workers count towards the density restrictions; 

In addition, small & large scale construction have clear definitions as does the above new category for early stage residential land development, ie:

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). 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.

There has been considerable questions raised with me about what is critical and essential infrastructure, which is not subject to business operating reductions.  You will see that following our representations, these are now clearly defined into 4 distinct categories, ie:

  1. 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; 
  2. activities prescribed by government from time to time as “State Critical Infrastructure Projects”; 
  3. construction and maintenance for the purposes of national security and defence; and
  4. 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.

You will note that the expectation is that very few activities will meet the above tests and project proponents can contact for the determination by the Chief Health Officer.

The rules and classification for civil construction are also clear, ie:

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:

The definition of a worker included in the restrictions on the above large scale, small scale and early stage land development sites (including all civil works) is clear, ie:

Workers refer to people working on a site including, but not limited to, owners, managers, employees, contractors, workers on labour hire and security.  It does not include workers 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.  A key distinction that we have successfully clarified is that …. workers do not include suppliers and deliveries (e.g. concrete trucks, concrete testers and the like) who are only present onsite for a short period of time and these do not count towards the daily worker limits.

Specialist contractors such as concrete trucks, concrete pump operators, truck drivers and asphalters have also been defined and I refer you to the attached list.

Finally, I am pleased to advise that the Building & Construction Working Group has been successful in its representation in having workers that provide architecture, engineering, surveying, building inspection or compliance services or statutory functions attend sites for inspection and safety purposes. Note these 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 working group has successfully positioned. 

Additional guidelines are provided about specialists who provide safety services, your required documentation and compliance, enforcement and monitoring. I envisage over the coming week that these Guidelines will be further refined. 

This is a significant shift in thinking, provides greater clarity for all civil contractors but more importantly enables you to continue delivery of your our projects in various sectors, albeit under tight Stage 4 restrictions and guidelines.  The underlying message from Government in our representations is that they want to restriction the movement of people, transmission from site to site and where possible, if you can do the work from home … you must work from home.

If you are a CCF member, we are here to assist you … just call us on 1300 DIAL CCF. If not, why not check out the many benefits you can receive as a CCF member via the attached link …

Have a great weekend … and to you and your family … keep well – keep safe.   

Kind regards

John Kilgour

CEO, CCF Victoria