Clarification of Stage 4 Restrictions

6 August 2020

The ACA – Victoria/Tasmania provides further clarification of COVID-19 Stage 4 restrictions, with advice on construction site access, worker permits, COVID Safe Plans and ongoing advocacy.

ACA Victoria / Tasmania is lobbying the government directly on behalf of the profession and is also working with related industry bodies to seek further clarification for architects and consultants in the construction sector to enable us to continue our critical roles to facilitate the progression of on-site projects and for the continuity of current and future construction projects.

The government has now released additional guidance for Stage 4 Restrictions – ‘Permitted Work Premises’ for the purposes of the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 6). Current directives pertaining to architects can be found under the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sector heading. It lists on-site work for architects being permitted as follows: “Architecture, surveying, building inspection and engineering services, where required on site for permitted construction.” This information may be further amended and the ACA will continue to advocate for the profession and provide updates as they become available.

Construction site access and worker permits

The presence of architects or consultants on site must be included in the total number of permitted persons on that site and must not lead to the maximum being exceeded.

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, employers that require their staff to attend a permitted work site must issue a worker permit to their employees. Practices are therefore now eligible to issue these permits for on-site visits as a permitted work premise for approved construction. Further information and the template for the permit is available through Business Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services, Permitted Worker Scheme – COVID-19.

Employees must carry the worker permit and should carry photo ID when travelling to and from the site. A worker permit can be shown electronically to authorities such as a photo, or scanned copy, on a mobile device.

The DHHS has released the following advice about working across multiple sites.

  • Each employer must determine who will be authorised to issue their employees a worker permit.
  • For an employer with multiple work sites, they may decide to designate an authorised person at each work site.
  • Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to work at different sites.
  • An employee working at more than one site must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance.

COVID Safe Plans

Practices should also be aware of guidance produced by Business Victoria supporting the implementation of COVID Safe Plans for industries that remain operational. Business Victoria has made available guidance and template documents for the creation of COVID Safe Plans and additionally a COVID workplace attendance register, which are all available to view for reference through Business Victoria under Creating a COVID Safe Workplace.

Construction sites must have in place a COVID Safe Plan by 11:59pm Friday 7 August. Again, before going on site, please ask to see their COVID Safe Plan; if the site has no plan, then don’t attend.

Ongoing Advocacy

On Tuesday 4 August 2020, ACA VIC/TAS President Paul Viney wrote to the Minister for the Coordination of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Martin Pakula to lobby on behalf of the profession.

“As architects are an integral part of the delivery and on-site safety processes, it is imperative that we can continue to operate albeit in a significantly reduced manner with a maximum of 25% normal employees (as per contractors) able to work from their office comply with our contractual obligations and to enable the continued flow of information and drawings for projects that might otherwise grind to a halt.

We acknowledge that although a number of tasks can be completed from a home office, there are significant technology and security limitations especially for sensitive critical infrastructure projects that could be placed in jeopardy if Architects cannot access their offices.”

You can read the letter in full here.

The ACA – VIC/TAS will continue to bring you updates as more information comes to hand.