In one of our last articles we helped bust one of the common ‘strata myths’ surrounding the coronavirus.
Myth #3 - “No tradesman can be let onto the premises to conduct works”
At the time of writing this article, our advice is that tradespeople may continue their standard activities on community property as long as they have not come into contact with COVID-19. When considering what works should and shouldn’t go ahead, committees should establish and consult a risk management checklist for both the residents and visiting contractors health and safety.
We had heard from numerous strata community members and their concerns about allowing tradespeople onto the premises. It’s become apparent that many apartment-dwellers mistakenly believe that trades aren’t allowed to work on apartment buildings under the current restrictions.
Nationally, Ace has heard that the Strata Community Association has also received reports of fire protection officers being denied access to strata properties due to concerns about social distancing and infection.
However, amidst all the current coronavirus restrictions, works such as this are classified as essential, and so are permitted.
Seriously delayed maintenance, repairs and safety, can be the difference between a minor defect and a major safety risk in your community; so, in the interests of communities maintaining their high standards of maintenance and safety we’ve put together a list of immediate maintenance priorities and a checklist of things to consider when hiring a contractor, if you don’t already have one for the job you need done.
The danger in delay: your immediate priorities
Elevators, air conditioning units and other mechanical units in your community can easily become a safety risk when not maintained properly. There’s a reason these features have a strict maintenance schedule and we recommend that this schedule be adhered to closely.
Between the harsh Australian climate and recent cases of defective buildings, it’s become common for the exterior of strata properties to require regular repair. If your building is experiencing concrete cracking, broken glass or other serious external defects, you must not put off repairs for the sake of keeping tradespeople out of the premises. The risk these external defects could pose to you and the neighbours of your community is significant and should be a high priority.
Hygiene is imperative in the midst of a health crisis. We recommend that communities with blocked toilets, broken pipes and other hygiene risks quickly take care of these jobs
What could be more important than security? Repairing a faulty automatic door, swipe card reader or parking garage lock will ensure you don’t let strangers enter your property unannounced.
Checklist in appointing a contractor
If all this has made your strata community want to spring into action and schedule necessary repairs and maintenance, we’ve put together a methodical checklist for appointing a contractor.
1. Determine whether the contractor is suitable
Ensure all new contractors complete the relevant forms in your region and provide copies of all supporting documents to show that they hold the necessary trade qualifications, current licenses and registration, and appropriate insurance cover.
2. Get assurances on safety
You’re well within your rights to request copies of the contractor’s Job Safety and Environment Assessment (often referred to as a JSA or JSEA) and Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for the works. A third party contractor verification provider can also be engaged to ensure contractor compliance.
3. Check their insurance
Prior to appointing a contractor, strata managers should ask for documentary evidence that the contractor has a current workers compensation insurance policy in place. This policy will provide cover in respect of injuries sustained by the contractor and/or their employees where they may be exposed to unsafe systems of work.
4. Ensure contractual indemnities are in place
Ensure contractors provide warranties as to the standard of their work and that they agree to indemnify the strata community against liability arising directly or indirectly from the contractor’s performance or non-performance of the work
5. Collect and compare quotes
Still need advice?
If you wish to discuss any strata community coronavirus concerns further with an Ace Body Corporate manager, please do not hesitate to contact us via our website or undertake your own research on this matter. Please use the links above in the Education section to access up to date health authority information.