COVID-19 – Building repairs and maintenance considered ‘essential’ service

Strata leaders advise unit & apartment residents against dangerous “do it yourself” during COVID-19 confinement

Building repairs and maintenance considered ‘essential’ service

Following our communication about the huge decreases to maintenance and repair works on apartment buildings under the current lockdown restrictions we would like to emphasis that we advise unit and apartment residents against DIY during COVID-19 confinement.

We’re concerned that many owners and residents are undertaking maintenance or planned work themselves.

We do not condone that anyone try to attempt dangerous renovations themselves while staying at home. Unfortunately, residents run the risk of injury or voiding warranty protection by attempting dangerous DIY tasks.

Isolation is sparking a home renovation boom, and some strata residents are undertaking risky DIY electrical, plumbing, and high-rise repair projects that are best performed by a professional.

Tradespeople can work on apartment buildings under the current restrictions, as maintenance and repair works are falling under essential services and are therefore permitted.

We’re encouraging all strata residents to employ skilled, qualified tradespeople for maintenance and repair works.

Residents safety is a high priority. With a few precautions, on-site building managers and strata residents can significantly minimise the risks to both themselves and any tradespeople entering the property.

We’re advocating a safety-first approach to repairs and maintenance in strata buildings and individual lots during COVID-19.

SCA (NSW) COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

  1. Don’t cancel necessary repairs and maintenance work

While we don’t wish to downplay the risk of COVID-19 in the community, delaying essential repairs and maintenance may pose a risk to the health and safety of building residents.

2. Don’t attempt these repairs and maintenance work yourself

Any repairs and maintenance work that poses risk to health and safety, including works involving plumbing, electric and gas, as well as works performed at height, require a skilled and qualified tradesperson.

  1. Be mindful of your scheme’s shared facilities

With more people staying home, shared facilities, will be under increased strain. These may include garbage disposal and collection, plumbing and cleaning. Be courteous of your neighbours and follow all health and safety rules.

  1. Be mindful of your neighbours and accept that many people are working from home

With more people working from home, be considerate about the amount of noise any work you contract or undertake is emitting. Be understanding about the level of noise that may occur while you’re working from home. Being part of a scheme where everyone is in close proximity, it’s best to be courteous, patient and understanding of your neighbours and community. Call your building/strata manager if you have any concerns regarding noise.

  1. Practice physical distancing

If you’re expecting a tradie in your home, maintain a minimum physical distance of 1.5m at all times. Avoid shaking hands and disinfect surfaces others may have touched.

If someone in your household is unwell, call your tradie 1-2 business days in advance. You may also ask your tradie if anyone in their team is unwell or showing symptoms.

  1. Practice hand hygiene

Provide your tradie with the option to wash their hands before and after completing the job. Tradies should carry soap or alcohol-based hand sanitiser with them and offer cashless payment options.

Everyone in the household should also practice good hand hygiene, including washing their hands regularly and coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or tissue, then disposing it.

  1. Ask for your tradie’s policies and procedures

Tradies need to employ strict policies and procedures for their staff to follow during this time. These guidelines should provide detail on how they are implementing health and safety precautions.

As a homeowner or resident, you can ask to see a copy of your tradie’s policies and procedures to ensure you’re satisfied.