VBA urges COVID-19 caution as building, plumbing continue

Monday, 20 July, 2020

VBA urges COVID-19 caution as building, plumbing continue

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is urging Victorians to take extra precautions when using a building or plumber, to slow the spread of coronavirus. Builders, plumbers and other traders are still carrying out jobs in homes, other buildings and on construction sites, as the Victorian Government has deemed them essential. Trades must comply with the Coronavirus Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry, which have been endorsed by the building and construction unions and employer and industry associations.

Builders, plumbers and other trades can continue to work in private homes and buildings if the owner or tenant is not self-isolating or in quarantine; however, if the owner has coronavirus, feels unwell or has cold or flu-like symptoms, they should postpone any non-urgent work. Exceptions exist for building or plumbing issues that pose a serious risk to health or safety.

For these urgent or emergency cases, home owners can call a builder or plumber, but they must inform the tradesperson they are self-isolating, so the tradesperson can take all necessary safety precautions. Urgent works include blocked or burst pipes; blocked stormwater drains; roof leaks; collapsed balconies, ceilings or walls; faulty heaters; gas leaks; no hot water; and non-functional smoke alarms.

The VBA’s State Building Surveyor, Andrew Cialini, urged Victoria’s building practitioners and tradespersons to follow the recommended safety precautions when attending to jobs at people’s homes.

“Builders and plumbers are making important changes to their work practices to help reduce the risk of infection and keep everyone safe,” Cialini said.

To reduce the spread of infection, all trades must sanitise their hands before entering a home, and frequently while they are there. Tradespersons must stay at least 1.5 metres from other people, or wear a mask if this is not possible. Tradespersons must also work with one person per four square metres of space, whenever possible, and cover their nose and mouth with their upper arm, a flexed elbow or a tissue when coughing and sneezing, then wash their hands afterwards. All tools and equipment must also be wiped down with alcohol wipes.

“By handwashing more frequently, adopting physical distancing and wearing personal protective equipment, Victoria’s trades are keeping this vital industry open,” Cialini said.

Home owners looking for a registered building practitioner or a registered or licensed plumber should visit vba.vic.gov.au/find to find a licensed tradesperson in their local area. VBA inspectors will continue to inspect building and plumbing work across the state for compliance.

“Our inspectors have a critical public safety function, so they are out on the street, inspecting properties. They’ll be taking all necessary precautions to keep themselves and others safe,” Cialini said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Krakenimages.com

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