THE reality is that local builders are still doing home renovations “you have to”, they say.

That’s despite the COVID-safe rules saying: “they cannot come into your home to work indoors, unless the work is urgent or essential. Renovations or improvements are not deemed to be essential.”

So, they’ve applauded the news this week that Master Builders Victoria is calling for the immediate return of indoor renovations work.

A local home renovations’ specialist told the Sentinel-Times this week that he was continuing to attend to a busy workload, as safely as possible, because he needed to keep making a living.

“We do the work when the people aren’t there, we’re fully vaccinated and we take all the precautions,” he said.

“Plus, much of the work we do is “urgent and essential” maintenance but definitely, there is a grey area there that needs to be cleared up.”

Master Builders Victoria (MBV) has called for the renovation sector to be immediately permitted to return to work inside occupied premises, or at the very minimum, return when 70 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated.

As the industry-leading body for building and construction in Victoria, MBV has been strongly advocating to the Victorian Government in recent weeks over the plight of the renovation sector, which is still not permitted to work inside occupied premises.

This week, MBV provided a private briefing to a range of Government ministers on why the renovation sector should be permitted to re-open in a COVIDSafe manner and called on the Government to act on this important issue.

MBV CEO Rebecca Casson said the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, where builders are not permitted to work inside occupied homes, continued to severely disadvantage and financially impact the renovation sector.

“Many of our renovation members are small family businesses that have not received adequate financial support to help them through this recent lockdown. They have been forced to stand down staff with the added risk of losing key staff due to skill shortages. This prolonged lockdown has also brought mental health impacts on small businesses and their employees,” she said.

“Currently, under the Victorian Government’s roadmap, the renovation sector is not permitted to work until November 5, 2021, subject to vaccination rates and epidemiological data.

“We feel that’s too long and presents an increased risk to clients being out of pocket due to builder insolvencies.

“The renovation sector has demonstrated vaccination compliance and proven that it can manage the risks of COVID-19. Therefore, there is some legitimacy for renovations to be permitted sooner than the current dates outlined in the roadmap.”

Ms Casson said many MBV members had active renovation jobs that are near completion.

The South Gippsland tradesman who spoke to the Sentinel-Times said he had bathroom and kitchen renovation work stretching through to February and March next year.

The renovation rules

Can tradespeople come to my home to carry out works?

Tradespeople can come to your property to provide services that can be undertaken outdoors only and with physical distancing, such as gardening and outdoor maintenance.

But they cannot come into your home to work indoors, unless the work is urgent or essential. Renovations or improvements are not deemed to be essential.

In-home support is permitted for those people that need assistance with cooking or cleaning because they have particular needs related to age, disability, illness, a chronic health condition or other medical reason.

Any business performing essential maintenance will need to have a COVIDSafe Plan and wear a mask.