Builders are being asked to accept tough new health and safety rules which stop short of requiring every person to be Covid-19 tested before heading back to the construction site.
Master Builders, New Zealand Certified Builders and Construction Health and Safety NZ have developed new protocols for builders working on residential construction sites.
The new measures were released in anticipation of the Government lowering the coronavirus alert level from 4 to 3, allowing builders to return to work.
Certified Builders Chief Executive Grant Florence, who had been involved in writing the new protocols, said Covid-19 testing was discussed at length.
"But we think if the 2m distancing rule and the protocols are followed by everyone coming to site, then there is sufficient management of risk
"We did look at how couriers were operating, they are very busy around the community delivering to homes.
"There didn't seem to be a requirement for that practice (to be tested), logically, the distancing measures they were using seemed to work very well."
The new rules require each construction site to have a Covid-19 Controls Plan, to show how it will minimise the risk of transmission.
Master Builders President Darrell Trigg said there was a clear focus on limiting contact and distance between people on site.
"It may be that people have to work on site in shifts, one during the day and one at night, but not having builders, plumbers, electricians all there at once in the same area.
"There will also have to be clear records showing who is on site and when they arrive and when they left."
Trigg said this will help with contact tracing, in case anyone does test positive for coronavirus later on.
He said getting use to the new way of working would take some time and productivity would slow.
"Typically, if you're doing a fit-out job, you have heaps of people in one room at the same time.
"That's not going to happen now, the job will still go ahead, but you'll only have one person in the room at the time.
"So yes, reaching those targets or milestones will take a bit longer, but it's better than no progress at all."
Trigg and Florence are asking builders to "step up" to the challenge of accepting a new way of working.
They want their members to read over the new protocols available of their industry websites.
Waikato builder Brad Payne said he's already put in place new protocols for the way he's expecting to work when the alert level lowers.
"We're checking in with our clients to make sure they're comfortable with us being on site.
"We'll be using the 2m distance rule, which is going to be difficult but it'll be something we'll have to get used to."
Payne owns the Cambridge business with his wife and a younger brother works with him on site too.
He's looking to hire one more person to increase capacity so the business can restart work on three projects.
"We're going to implement a wash station to our van, it'll have a 20-litre container of water with a tap on the site, that will also have a soap dispenser, paper towels and a rubbish bin.
"We'll be required to wash our hands before work starts, before and after each break, and when we finish work."
Payne said some of these measures were already in place but reinforcing them gave clients some "peace of mind".
Hamilton property developer Matt Stark agreed it will take time for the building industry to adjust to the new way of working.
"I suppose the main focus is making sure everyone is safe, like we always do.
"But taking those extra measures to make sure the right processes are in place."
In Hamilton East, Stark is building high-end apartments.
"To be fair, everyone is going to have a time delay on projects, most of ours have got a time delay now.
"There will be a little lag time before getting up to speed."
He said buyer interest in the apartments had not lowered during the lockdown but the rest of the year will be a "mixed bag" for the building industry.
"That's going to be around the banking sector, how they fund development.
"Banks aren't likely to run out and fund development that isn't de-risked, so that's going to be a challenge."
Article supplied by Stuff