Good news for house owners

Busy at work: Homeowners with interrupted renovations can now resume work on their houses. — ONG SOON HIN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Contractors from Grade 1 to Grade 4 are now allowed to carry out house renovations under Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), after an update was made by the National Security Council on the types of permitted construction work.

According to Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, these kinds of construction are within the categories where physical distancing is much more easily achieved.

“These projects involve the categories between G1 and G4, and they normally do not have many workers on site.

“Many of these contractors and house owners have appealed to the government to allow them to operate as their house renovations were interrupted during the pandemic,” said Fadillah.

A Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grading is a rank given to a construction company based on the value and experience of its past construction projects.

G1 companies can undertake projects up to RM200,000; G2 up to RM500,000; G3 up to RM1mil while G4 contractors can undertake projects up to RM3mil.

Fadillah noted that the recent ruling to allow house renovations as well as house construction were updates to what had been agreed by the NSC on Aug 3.

“In Phase One, all types of house renovation works are allowed.

“In Phase Two, all types of house and building renovation works are allowed, and by building renovations, we mean any building. This can include factories, offices, malls, schools and shops.

“However, for Phase One and Two, all companies involved in these projects will have to apply for Approval to Operate from the Covid-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) portal under the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti),” added Fadillah.

He also stated that for construction of new houses under phases One and Two of the NRP, all construction sites which provide accommodation for their workers are allowed to operate.

“Of course, the accommodation must be approved by the local councils. Again, the companies involved must apply for Approval to Operate from Miti’s CIMS,” said Fadillah.

He added that despite the easing for these sectors by the NSC, local councils and building managements still have the right to impose rules stricter than the ones outlined in the National Security Council’s SOP.In the updates on the NSC website, services which are allowed in the construction sector include critical maintenance and repair, public infrastructure construction, construction of workers’ hostels at construction sites, construction by G1-G4 contractors, renovations on private housing, government-funded projects, ground investigation work, consultancy and professional work on construction and any other supporting services for permitted construction work.

For housing development in Phase One of the NRP, the SOP includes screening of workers, with only low-risk workers allowed on site, and a QR code-based attendance registrar to be prepared by owner of site.

There should be physical distancing between workers, constant washing of hands with soap, use of sanitiser, compulsory wearing of face masks and good air ventilation on the premises.

Children under 12 are not allowed on site, as stated in the SOP.

Workers are also not allowed to be on the premises for more than nine hours, and work must end by 5pm.

There must be a rotation of workers and workers are not allowed to congregate during breaks or meals.

Also in the SOP, any Covid-19 symptoms must be reported to the workers’ coordinator as quickly as possible.

On July 16, the government announced that G3 and G4 contractors would also be allowed to resume their projects.

This followed an earlier announcement by the Housing and Local Government Ministry on June 24, which stated that small-scale projects involving G1 and G2 contractors under the purview of local councils will be allowed to operate under Phase One of the NRP, and they do not have to get the CIMS letter to operate.

Fadillah’s clarification came as there had been much confusion in recent weeks as to whether house renovations were allowed, as house construction was clearly allowed.

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