Image taken on-site at a current residential alterations & addition in Sydney’s north – 27.03.20 (photo taken by the foreman and emailed to the MWa office)
Where are we at, right now with building, in Sydney?
I’ve had a couple of calls within the last 24 hours, to tap into a wealth of resources – my good colleagues within the architecture, planning & building industry, to get the lay of the land for this week (start of April 2020).
Where are we at, right now, with building?
And how might the Covid-19 crisis affect our MWa newtork of clients, consultants, builders and trades?
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GENERALLY
Right now, the construction industry is an essential service and such a significant employer within NSW, that the focus is on keeping workers healthy and safe in their workplaces, so building can continue.
Government, industry and the unions are working together with the common goal of keeping work flowing with health of all as a first priority. Site specific physical controls like teams / shifts to maintain separation, temperature testing upon arrival at work, and driving to work to reduce public transport and distancing – are just some examples of measures being taken. Overnight, the government has extended potential work hours for some sites to seven days. The decision regarding closures of construction sites or sectors is with the NSW Dept of Health.
LOCAL BUILDERS AND TRADES
A reminder that all the labour on a building site is local, and as such, 100% handmade & 100% Australian.
Our residential builders are continuing to continue work on residential new builds and alterations and additions, where the home is vacant and is not occupied by the owners.
Our residential builders are still busy with client meetings as calls/skye/zoom, organising their projects, providing advice, costings and tenders – managing for now and planning for the future.
MATERIALS & SUPPLIES
Our residential builders have not yet come across any supply issues.
There is some evidence of the supply chain is being affected on large developments and commercial building sites, but at the moment, this is limited to specific types of items (ie facades).
My inbox is being flooded with updates from residential suppliers that are well stocked, and assuring us of production capacity for products which are made locally. It’s actually a great reminder to know how much building material and manufacturing is Australian – from Bluescope Steel, to ArcPanel Structurally Insulated Panels, weatherboard cladding like Weathertex, Intrim Timber Mouldings, to name a few.
Suppliers who have shopfronts are still there, behind the scenes, assisting and taking orders. Suppliers who provide design & specification & shop drawings are still doing so.
Our design consultants, that includes us as the architects plus our surveyors, stormwater engineer, structural engineer, landscape architect, town planner, independent certifier, BASIX consultants and the list goes on, are all still working, albeit from home offices, keeping a safe distance but staying well connected.
At MWa, we are working now in our “satellite” offices (rather than our “headquarters”), and are continuing to document for the construction, receiving tenders, marking up joinery shop drawings, assessing progress claims for projects under construction, liaising with consultants, following up with Council on current DAs being assessed, and designing some fine new interiors. And we just received a Final Occupation Certificate from a Certifier – always a cause for celebration in architecture land.
LOCAL COUNCIL AND DAs
Our local councils are still open for business and accepting Development Applications – and some have brought forward the 1 July 2020 deadline for acceptance of on-line DA submissions, a huge change and step forward for these organisations. Physical copies of planning documents for public notification are no longer required.
NSW Dept of PLANNING
The NSW Dept of Planning has introduced a raft of new legislation to respond to Covid-19 which includes, among other things, the extension of work hours on construction sites to accommodate social distancing, the operating hours of home businesses and the definitions of home occupations are relaxed slightly to permit a small number of employees to be part of a home occupation.
For us all right now, health and safety is the priority, obviously.
Second to that, economic survival and being able to get on with our jobs is the goal.
Let’s focus on what we can control and work through this together.
Good things take time. During this crisis, use time productively to design / approve / document your home and takes steps towards beyond #stayathome.
Talk to us on 0421 088 110.