With all the uncertainty around Lockdowns and different stages of stay at home restrictions around Australia, you may be asking, can we still renovate in Lockdown?
After all, it would make perfect sense to renovate during a time when you are bound to be home, without the interruption of major events, upcoming travel or conscious of visitors dropping into your home for a stay. Like many Australians at the moment, all this staying at home has begun to highlight some areas of improvement around the home that you otherwise would be to busy to even think about! According to Houzz, renovations did not stop due to the COVID pandemic, and in fact encouraged more home improvements.
Unfortunately for Victoria, Melbourne has recently been confined to Stage 4 Restrictions, the most severe restrictions to date in Australia since the pandemic hit us at the start of the year. Currently regional Victoria is under Stage 3 Restrictions, and other states and territories have differing sets of rules.
Under Stage 3 Restrictions, there has not been any explicit restrictions regarding home renovations specifically. However, there are a number of other restrictions which need to be adhered to. It has been recommended that no unnecessary work take place at your home and that the only work that should be undertaken in your home by external tradespeople should be emergency works. That is, works to repair something that can cause a health risk to those living in the home. Although, tradespeople and cleaners may still enter your home providing social distancing can take place. Any works that are outside the home can continue following social distancing rules. If you are currently in the middle of a renovation, the work can continue following social distancing rules. There are also restrictions on the reason to leave your home, so it’s important to only leave your home when required and lawful.
During the recently announced Stage 4 Restrictions in Victoria, all of the same restrictions apply from Stage 3 however there are additional requirements such as, it is now mandatory for everyone wear a mask outside your home, curfews are now in place, and your essential travel must be within 5kms radius from your home, unless you have a work permit and you are going to and from work. It was also announced that most retailers are required to close their physical stores, except those deemed essential. In regard to renovating and home improvement, during the press conference announcing the changes on Monday Premier Daniel Andrews said, “It’s not the time to be painting your house or having unnecessary, non-urgent work happen.” Then on Tuesday Andrews clarified “If you’re working on the construction of a new house, or indeed if you are doing a significant renovation of a house and there is no one there, no one living there... then you can continue to work under strict rules”. There were some restrictions added to residential construction that your trades will need to follow. Essentially, if the house is vacant, you are permitted to renovate it, as long as social distancing measures are followed, masks are worn, and no more than 5 persons are working within the home at any given time.
The added restriction in one’s movement means you may not be able to leave your home to visit your renovation project, as it doesn’t fall under one of the specified four reasons to leave your home. This means you may need discuss project related issues or conduct inspections without actually visiting the site. You may need to become more dependent on technology and creative if you wish to continue with your renovation during COVID. Luckily we live in an age where it is relatively easy to have video calls or web meetings instead of physically meeting or visiting the site. As for restrictions on retail shopping, most retailers have online stores where you can place an order for delivery, and if items are required urgently, you could ask your trades to collect your order via 'click & collect'. Alternatively, you could make arrangements with your trades to purchase the required goods on your behalf.
Any home improvement that can be done by the occupants that live in the home can proceed, that is if you are normally authorised to do the work yourself, you can still work within your own premises. You should not be doing any works that requires a licence to undertake, such as plumbing or electrical work, unless of course you are a plumber or electrician working in your own home!
Have you seen the new SALINI 90cm Oven that dropped while in lockdown? She’s a beauty. Also worth a look, the new Hawking range of basins.
If you are currently under severe stay at home restrictions and the house you wish to renovate is not vacant, not all is lost, during restrictions of any severity, you can still forward plan your renovation project during lockdown so that you are ready to go when restrictions are lifted. Anyone who has undertaken a renovation recently can tell you the importance of planning. Planning your renovation can include setting budgets, timelines, planning the layouts, setting design style, researching renovation installers or tradespeople, and of course my favourite - shopping for the products you need! There is quite a bit that goes into planning a renovation project, enough to keep you busy and productive during the COVID lockdowns. If you are looking to speak to a team who can look after the installation of your renovation in Victoria, please register your interest via this page, and the installation team will get back to you to get the ball rolling!
Please note that these are the best interpretations of the current set of recommendations at this time, very early into the developments, and there will no doubt be clarifications in these areas in the coming days and weeks, leading to possible changes to the current information. We caution you to check the most up-to-date government communication applicable to your area before commencing any work.