How to manage contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19
Committees are responsible for deciding whether to continue with scheduled building works during COVID-19, or to restrict contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks to minimise the risk of transmission
At the time of writing this article, our advice as property service and facilities management specialists is that regular contractors may continue their standard activities, as long as your state’s health orders do not prohibit this. Contractors must also adhere to strict hygiene and sanitation procedures, and we recommend coming up with a plan for managing contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19.Here are our top recommendations for strata committees when it comes to managing contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19:
- Abide by recommended guidelines for visiting contractors
- Review how your contractors clean common areas
- Put health and safety first when deciding to go ahead with or postpone building works
Abide by recommended guidelines for visiting contractors
When it comes to managing contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks, committees may need to revisit and possibly review contractor and visitor procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Be briefed on social distancing measures and protocols via phone before the contractor visits the property
- Practise social distancing in common areas and display signs or section-off areas where they expect to frequent
- Disinfect equipment before it is brought onsite
- Present a Safe Work Method Statements, which now include additional processes including Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and social distancing measures
- Sanitise hands regularly and disinfect door handles other surfaces after they have completed work
- Bring their own pens if any signatures are required.
Review how your contractors clean common areas
When managing contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19, you should take some time out to review the work completed by those who undertake jobs such as cleaning, the cleaning products that are being used and how they are being used should be reviewed. Here are our four top tips for this:
- Review cleaning products and increase the number of cleans, length of clean, and what gets cleaned. Refer to the Department of Health’s Cleaning Guide for guidance
- While general cleaning is important for maintaining the basic hygiene and the physical cleanliness of a strata property, COVID-19 outbreaks may require cleaning techniques beyond a standard clean to kill airborne pathogens and the virus
- To help prevent transmission, ask cleaning contractors to present their COVID-19 policies or cleaning plans on how they are handling the situation as part of your standard process for managing contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19. They need to show they are taking the necessary steps to prevent the spread of infections. New cleaning processes should cover all common areas that owners, residents and visitors utilise
- Talk to your strata or facilities manager to access PICA Group’s list of cleaning contractors who can undertake rigorous and methodical cleaning work, or get in touch to be contacted by a team member from Assured Building Maintenance if you reside in New South Wales.
3. Prioritise your strata community’s health and safety when deciding to go ahead with or postpone building works
Remember, the primary role of an owners corporation or body corporate is to maintain common property. Your strata committee should bear in mind their responsibilities when managing contractors onsite your strata property during COVID-19, and deciding whether to continue with works. Common areas must always be maintained to a standard that is safe for residents and guests.
Keep the following in mind when making your final decision:
- If you have upgrades scheduled that are not vital to the safety of the building or require an increase in levies or special levies to be raised, consider postponing these works if there is a concern for owner’s cash flow issues, jobs and poor health
- In NSW, under Section 80 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, an owners corporation, so far as practical, must implement their capital works plan. This should be a consideration when deciding whether to postpone or continue with works
- Remember that because of COVID-19, the construction industry may see shortages of supplies and see labour issues. It is, therefore, worthwhile considering the possibility of delays and what impact interruptions would have
- You must follow all state and federal health orders. If your state restricts or prohibits building works, you must abide by this.
COVID-19 is proving we need to come together as a community to look after each other and look after our properties. If you have concerns about how your property should move forward with works, please speak to your strata manager or facilities manager.
Note: We are not in a position to provide health advice and encourage you to keep up-to-date with guidance provided by the Australian Government.When it comes to caring for and protecting your strata property, our facilities management team at BFMS are the experts for the job. Known for their professionalism and personal service, our team offers everything from expert full and part-time building management to a range of other related repairs, maintenance, and management services. Or, download our FREE Community Living guide series on defects here. If you would like to learn more about Community Health & Safety and related services to ensure your protection, click here.