The building design industry has been under siege during the Coronavirus pandemic, and is now trying to balance new health requirements to keep projects running on schedule.
Social distancing, staggered shifts, break times and site decontamination are now commonplace practises at construction sites around the nation.
Much like any business facing the aspect of closing under ever strict rules, the financial impact for the 1.2 million individuals working in the Australian building industry could be substantial.
Yet building sites are open, as construction has been deemed an essential service under present federal government shutdowns.
Nancarrow emphasised the importance of keeping both the nation’s economy and citizens healthy by enforcing strict social distancing standards on site, and maintaining open communication and unity with stakeholders and the community.
John Holland, which runs 60 projects in Australia, New Zealand and southeast Asia, also has mandated staggered shifts and visitors restrictions onsite. And the builder has started a Coronavirus taskforce to plan ahead for future projects.
Multiplex has enacted similar measures in accordance with government advice, and reserves outdoor areas for breaks and on-site meeting sessions.
Development giant Lendlease has segregated its workers to minimise sizable gatherings.
The building industry has confirmed two Coronavirus cases, at Multiplex’s Melbourne Square and Kane Constructions’ new student precinct project at the University of Melbourne, demonstrating the necessity for distancing measures.
The effect of the Coronavirus on the building supply chain has resounded throughout the nation, this owing to building materials shortages provoked by the restrictions of movement.
Industry body Master Builders said that in spite of important industries being closed across the country, building remained a vital part of the economy.
Master Builders regional manager Will Wilson said that the council has been requested to ease up on present time restrictions on construction projects so as many people can work as feasible, while meeting physical distancing requirements. He suggests that work hours be extended, to make up for the additional time taken to adhere to physical distancing requirements.
Industry lobbyists also have asserted that additional federal restrictions will require the implementation of additional building projects, like health centres.
The federal government has committed $130 billion for wage subsidies over the next half year in an effort to save jobs.
About 50,000 construction jobs were lost in 2019 as the sector’s share of the labour market diminished to 9.1 per cent from its peak of 9.5 per cent annually, in the wake of the housing downturn.