Construction slows down

AV Jennings senior sales consultant Susan Lindblom. Photo: Damjan Janevski 212663_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

Construction has slowed on sites across Hobsons Bay, including the biggest residential development in Williamstown, due to stage four workplace lockdown measures for metropolitan Melbourne.

Under the COVID-19 measures, projects of more than three storeys can have no more than 25 per cent of the normal workforce onsite and projects of three storeys or less can have five people onsite.

AV Jennings senior sales consultant Susan Lindblom said the 500-dwelling Waterline Place development in Williamstown would be set back by weeks but hopefully not months.

“AV Jennings is a publicly listed company and our COVID-19 protocols are extremely diligent,” she said.

“We can have five people onsite for townhouse construction.

“And on the eight-storey Empress building, which is under construction at the moment, the workforce will have to be reduced to 25 per cent.

“We had something like 80 workers there at any given time, so that will have to drop down to around 20.

“The lockdown is for six weeks, so there will be a slow down for six weeks and then you’d hope that we’d be able to catch up any delays during the course of construction.

“But we’re all in this together and everyone’s suffering one way or another at the moment.”

Barlow McEwan Tribe First National agent Anthony Molinia is a selling agent for a five-storey, 25 dwelling apartment block under construction in Altona’s Pier Street.

He said the restrictions would create delays.

“If three quarters of the workforce isn’t working, it’s going to delay things, isn’t it.

“The tradies are only allowed to work on one site at a time – they can’t go from one site to another.

“They might have a couple of hours of work in the morning at one site and then they’ll go to another, but you can’t do that now.

“These rules are ridiculous.”

Master Builders Association chief executive Rebecca Casson said the decision to scale back the building and construction industry was devastating.

The state government has since made a concession, allowing tradies and supervisors to visit up to three sites per week.