The New Normal
COVID-19 measures extended to 29 September 2022
The NSW Government has extended temporary COVID-19 emergency measures for strata and community schemes. Strata owners corporations and community land associations can continue, until 29 September 2022, to:
- meet and vote electronically without passing a resolution to authorise this beforehand
- validly execute documents without affixing the seal of the owners corporation or association.
NON-LOCKED DOWN LGAs
- Developers and builders can recommence work on construction sites across Sydney
- Low-risk construction sites require COVID-19 safe plans
- Tradespeople, including cleaners and gardeners, are allowed to resume work with the following limitations:
- In an outdoor area, no more than 5 people can undertake work at the same time.
- In an indoor area, no more than 2 people are permitted. However, one of the household members can be present in a separate room (e.g. bedroom).
LOCKED DOWN LGAs -
Only ‘authorised workers’ can leave for work.
Our governing body, Strata Community Association (SCA), sought immediate clarification on any exemption for the large workforce within locked down LGA’s that service strata schemes across Sydney. The category of “other services” within authorised workers covers only workers performing essential services, like maintenance, safety, and upkeep related to public and recreational spaces.
Strata buildings are considered private spaces, which means that services, including security, BMs, cleaning etc., are not included in the “other services” category. Therefore, workers performing those services are not allowed to leave their LGA. However, workers can provide services to buildings within the LGA they live in. For background purposes, the category ‘other services’ has been created to allow solely for the minimum upkeep of parks by council employees/contractors.
Definition ‘Public Place’:
(a) a place (whether or not covered by water), or
(b) a part of premises,
That is open to the public or is used by the public whether or not on payment of money or other consideration, whether or not the place or part is ordinarily so open or used and whether or not the public to whom it is open consists only of a limited class of persons, but does not include a school.
The Government is aware of the significant impact the LGA lockdowns are having on the ability of businesses to provide services. The focus is still to limit the spread of COVID-19 beyond each affected LGA to keep case numbers manageable. The SCA will continue to engage with Government to ensure they understand the impact of these restrictions and work towards practical amendments if required.
CHANGES TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
On the 17th of July, the NSW Premier made the tough decision to introduce even further restrictions in the face of persistent community transmission of COVID-19.
New changes to restrictions for Greater Sydney Area include the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour were announced.
All other restrictions currently in place will remain in place. Some clarity, particularly surrounding the servicing of common property in Strata Schemes, was provided by the gazetted public health orders that the Government issued on Saturday evening.
Our governing body, Strata Community Association (SCA), has been a significant support for our industry regarding the changing environment of strata management businesses and their workforce. The SCA shall continue to closely communicate with NSW Health, NSW Fair Trading, and the Minister’s office and update as new information comes to hand.
Please note that the following advice is based on that shared by the SCA, and further clarification or new rules may be introduced at any time.
CLEANING & WASTE MANAGEMENT
Clause 22A of the orders states the following;
Clause 22A Directions of Minister about visitors to places of residence
Insert after clause 22A(4)-
(4A) Despite subclause (4), a person is not authorised to visit a place of residence in Greater Sydney to engage in work that is cleaning or carrying out repairs, maintenance, alterations, additional or other trades at the place of residence.
(4B) Subclause (4A) does not apply if the work is urgently required –
1. to ensure the health, safety or security of the place of residence or the members of the household, or
2. because of an emergency
Example: Commercial cleaning and waste management is permitted within common property of strata buildings. Cleaning within individual lots is not permitted.
Due to no exemption to the contrary, landscaping and gardening works are to be deferred unless for an emergency, i.e potential damage to property or safety risk.
We have sought clarity from the Fire Protection Association of Australia (FPA). According to their latest member advice, fire protection maintenance is urgent to maintain the health, safety, and security of premises for residents and for attending emergency services, except non-urgent work within residential units.
An excerpt of their advice relating to permissible works is below, and full details can be found in the following link http://www.fpaa.com.au/news/news/routine-service-work.aspx
1. the following work must continue on fire safety systems and features during the lockdown period:
– routine service work
– annual assessment
– rectification maintenance;
2. all work must be carried out using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety procedures;
3. base building fire systems should be assessed, but common sense and health considerations should be taken with respect to servicing single occupancy units (SOUs); and
4. where access cannot be obtained, practitioners should work out alternative arrangements in the short term to satisfy themselves that systems are performing and arrange to reinspect at a later time
CONSTRUCTION WORK, REPAIRS, AND NON-ESSENTIAL MAINTENANCE
Construction works, repairs and non-essential maintenance are to be deferred. Emergency works and essential reactive repairs are permitted; however, a pause on preventative and non-essential maintenance and remedial/upgrade construction work is in place.
Example: Lift outage, garage door malfunctions, or hot water/pump repairs are permitted.
Special Health Orders for the Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool (LGA’s)
Persons living in the Liverpool, Fairfield or Canterbury Bankstown LGA’s cannot leave their residence for work unless they are an authorised worker. For a full copy of the most recent health orders and a list of the workers permitted to work in the Bankstown, Canterbury, and Liverpool LGA’s, see the links below.
Onsite Building and Facilities Managers
Our onsite team members, building managers and building maintenance technicians have undertaken the Australian Government’s Department of Health’ Infection Control Training – COVID-19′ online training course.
Our onsite Building Managers will continue to attend to their roles at buildings. However, they will work in isolation. None of our building management staff are affected by the restrictions in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool LGAs.
Our office-based employees
Our employees have been working from home already and have been provided with technology and devices to continue to service your property to ensure we minimise any possible disruption to our services.
Strata inspections that support the property sales process will proceed via our online portal to ensure no interruption or delays.