UDIA Victoria, Master Builders Victoria and the Property Council of Australia have addressed Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in a joint letter, calling for the reopening of display homes, sales suites, land sales offices and open-for-inspections, by appointment, by 28 September.
In the letter, the industry leaders outline the urgent need to safely re-introduce these vital aspects of the property, development and real estate sector.
“The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA Victoria), Master Builders Victoria (MBV) and Property Council of Australia (Property Council) are working together to represent the interests of our members and the broader building, construction, development and property industry. We commend the Victorian Government for working with us and our broader industry to properly implement physical distancing and hygiene measures on building, construction and development sites, and the proactive approach that has been taken to keep the industry open and operating during the pandemic period.
We are highly confident that as our industry reopens and increases consumer-facing activities, that these practises will keep people safe and minimise the risk of COVID-19.
The building, construction, development and property industry is a fundamental plank of the Victorian economy and employs more than three hundred thousand Victorians. The industry contributes to over 45% of the state’s taxation revenue. The revenue the Victorian Government receives from the transaction of property, and specifically from the purchase and sale of new housing, is a vitally important revenue stream.
In accordance with Stage 4 restrictions, display homes, land sales offices and sales suites have been closed completely in Metropolitan Melbourne since 8 August 2020 and are open by appointment only in regional Victoria.
Under the Roadmap to Reopening announced on 6 September 2020, these settings cannot reopen until November at best. With Spring being the strongest selling season, and December and January traditionally soft, this puts the future construction pipeline for the 2021 year under extreme threat. We are calling on the Victorian Government to immediately prioritise (from 28 September 2020) the reopening of display homes, land sales offices, sales suites and open-for-inspections, for sale and rental on an appointment basis.
We strongly urge the Victorian Government to bring forward the opening up of these settings, by appointment, from the recently proposed date of 26 October, in order to give the new housing industry a chance at rebuilding the sales pipeline and lock in a forward workbook for the domestic building industry.”
The letter continues, outlining the realities that the extended restrictions have the potential to leave the new home sales pipeline effectively nonexistent for up to six months.
Additional suggestions and guidance pertaining to opening display homes, land sales offices, sales suites and open-for-inspections was also outlined in the letter, including:
• COVID-19 induction processes on entry including temperature checking
• Public signage including bollards at entrances, signs in driveways and internal signage
• Maximum numbers of people in a facility at any one time and no more than 6 people inside at any one time
• Ensuring people keep a safe distance at all times
• Make customer registration compulsory upon entry and, where possible, use a date and time-stamped digital platform
• Separated, individual sales zones within the facilities
• Added entry an"d exit A-frames and internal signage to reinforce physical distancing and hygiene measures
• Creating additional sales zones within the facilities
• Discrete entrance and exits to control the movement of people through the facility
• Safe hygiene practises
“On behalf of our membership and the broader Victorian community, we thank the Victorian Government for its support of the building, construction, development and property industry during this difficult time and for listening to industry associations including UDIA Victoria, Master Builders Victoria, and the Property Council, as we work night and day to maintain the employment of hundreds of thousands of Victorians working in our sector.”
The building, construction and development industry will be able to open up at around 85% from the end of September, welcome good news for the industry and the Victorian economy, offering hope that Victorian’s will continue to see the easing of restrictions in weeks to come.