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ACT bans renos in blocks where any unit is occupied

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Just a day after announcing an extension to the Capital Territory’s Covid-19 lockdown, the ACT Government has banned all renovations in any apartment blocks where people are still in residence.

The move, notified to Owners Corporation Network (OCN) members and strata managers in the ACT, brings Canberra into line with Victoria – but not surrounding NSW – as far as lockdown renos are concerned.

The amended public health order states that the ban on work on residential apartments applies even to empty apartments where work has commenced, unless the work is for urgent repair and maintenance, or if there is no one living in the apartment block at all.

The ACT Government has told builders and strata professionals that the order is to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to entire complexes, as much of the work in apartments is undertaken in enclosed spaces, increasing risk of transmission.

It defines a residential apartment complex as any building with a common entrance for more than one home, regardless of the number of dwellings or storeys.

Among the permitted repair and maintenance services excluded in the orders are genuinely urgent plumbing, electrical and heating repairs.

Strata Community Association (SCA-ACT) has advised its strata manager members to tell their apartment block clients that only urgent repair and maintenance services may be completed, for the time being.

The ACT government has stressed the point that vacating the apartment under renovation does not overcome the  requirements of the Health Orders or make ordinary, non-urgent building work compliant.

Work on vacant ACT apartments is only permitted where no person occupies any unit in the strata scheme. This is very different from NSW where renovations can continue even in occupied apartments, albeit with restrictions of two tradies per unit.

In unoccupied apartments in NSW, the restriction is one worker per 4 sqm, regardless of how many other people are living in the block.

ACT residents who require further information are advised to contact the Covid-19  helpline on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.

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