On Wednesday, state planning minister Rob Stokes revoked the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Covid-19 Development—Construction Work Days) Order 2020, put into place at the beginning of the pandemic as lockdowns and other restrictions were introduced.

Stokes stated that the year-long order, permitting worksites and workers to operate on weekends and holidays to make minimal the prospect of productivity, was no longer required and would be stopped in a couple weeks’ time.

The retraction was addressed with a negative reaction from industry experts and peak bodies.

In the wake of industry feedback, Stokes is extending the revocation of the temporary order for building hours from two weeks, to a month, he stated.

He acknowledges the substantial community worries regarding the importance of the temporary order, but also comprehends the impact it has on the building industry and supports the advisement for the revocation to commence in a month.

At the onset of the pandemic, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 was amended to empower Stokes to issue orders that overrode customary planning controls.

Industry experts questioned the retraction as the rush to commernce residential projects funded by the federal government’s HomeBuilder stimulus payments boosted building activity in March to its most elevated level.

AI Group and the HIA’s recent performance of construction index recorded a boost of 4.4 points to 61.8—the highest result for the monthly report, commenced in 2005, that states the survey responses of building industry figures in the form of an index value.

A reading above 50 indicates progress and, the higher above 50, the more expedient the rate of growth.

Urban Taskforce chief executive Tom Forrest stated that the business had been let down by the state’s department of planning.

He stated it would inspire a delay in the delivery of new houses and possibly enhance upward pressure on home prices.

The department has had one year to cultivate a policy to permit for an extension of construction hours where there is no effect, or very little effect, on residents, Forrest stated.

CBD high-rise construction; commercial work, retail and industrial zones; greenfield building development sites on the outskirts of Sydney—he stresses that many choices are available between ‘on and off’.

He says that this shift will hold back this valuable pro-jobs, pro-economy initiative while we know that Covid-19 restrictions could be re-applied at any time.

In NSW, nearly 400,000 individuals are working in the property business. It has been estimated that the building and development sectors contribute to nearly 10 per cent of the state’s economy.

Says the Australian Construction Industry Forum’s recent forecasts, the pandemic will slice $4.8 billion from Australian construction output for 2020 and 2021.

The primary elements of the decline would be a 34 per cent decline in accommodation work, a 23 per cent drop in entertainment and recreation (like sporting clubs, casinos, museums and galleries), and an 11 per cent drop in education.

Some sectors are growing in spite of the pandemic-related problems, with industrial property, health and elder care, and expenditure on infrastructure, bridges and railways and streets undergoing elevated volumes of construction activity.

The most recent official building approvals figures released on Wednesday displayed approvals in high-rise apartments—buildings more than four-storeys high—doubled during February.

 

Source: The Urban Developer