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COVID-19 in 2021
How the current COVID-19 restrictions affect the engineering and consulting professional service sector in Aotearoa.
ACE New Zealand position statement and guidance on vaccinations
ACE New Zealand has worked with Engineering New Zealand and CEAS on our position on COVID-19 risk management and vaccinations. Together we ask employers in engineering and professional services to identify working environments that are ‘high risk’ for Covid-19 transmission and which would require workers to be vaccinated. The statement does not propose vaccination as a mandate for all workers in the sector, but advocates vaccination as a pre-requisite for workers operating in high-risk environments. We know our people work across diverse settings, often visiting several locations in a day, for example schools and hospitals, client offices and consent agencies. We have a responsibility to keep them safe, wherever that may be.
Find out how to book your vaccination.
Juggling privacy and contact tracing
It’s now mandatory to keep safe and secure records of everyone working at or visiting your premises. How do you protect people’s privacy when setting up a record keeping system of visitors to your business? The Privacy Commissioner has issued some helpful guidance. Read more on privacy.
Construction Sector Accord health and safety protocols and guidance
Building, construction and maintenance may be able to operate during Alert Level 3 and 4 restrictions if they meet the government criteria. Find out more about what work is deemed an Alert Level 3 and 4 business and service in the building, construction and maintenance sector.
Work is allowed to secure sites that pose immediate health and safety hazards, so long as your workers adhere strictly to health and safety protocols and the work is solely to ensure the site is safe and secure.
CHASNZ has updated its protocols for working under COVID-19 difference alert levels. Read the protocols.
Guidance from the Construction Sector Accord includes contractual guidelines for procuring agencies, contract variation guidelines, the recommended approach to construction risk management, and rapid mobilisation guidance post-lockdown. The Accord advise that the health order instituted by the Government constitutes a change in law and therefore previous guidance issued by the Construction Sector Accord is still applicable. Some contracts may have clauses that set out provisions for dealing with costs associated with COVID-19 related lockdowns.
Auckland Council building and resource consents, regulatory engineering
Auckland Council has given updates to its relevant services and processes while in Level 3 lockdown. Find out more about working with Auckland Council in Alert Level 3.
Waka Kotahi work plan
Waka Kotahi has issued written confirmation to maintenance contractors regarding permitted activities and COVID risk management expectations. Read the plan.
We have all been here before. Remote working isn’t new and with the influx of tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, the country is now more prepared than ever to cope with this way of working.
It’s important to check-in with your team regularly to make sure everyone is ok. Some team members may be feeling isolated, distracted - particularly with schools closed and other family members working at home and concerned about family and friends.
Watch our webinar from 2020 with HR Assured on working from home.
The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment helps businesses directly affected when there’s an increase to Alert Level 2 or higher for a week or more. The payment helps to cover wages and fixed costs.
To be eligible, your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, due to an increase in Alert Levels.
Find out more information about the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and how to apply.
Contracts and force majeure
We previously prepared guidance on the legal regime concerning contracts under Alert Level 4.
Contractual relief may be available through a force majeure provision if present in a contract. If not present, there is the possibility of the general law principle of frustration applying in a particular case. However, it appears very unlikely that frustration will be generally available as a remedial route for consultants unless the current Lockdown is extended for a prolonged period causing substantial delays/obstruction to the performance of services.
The recommended way forward for consultants, including those with contractual relief provisions, is to communicate proactively with clients and seek a mutually acceptable negotiated solution via a contract variation. If that can’t be achieved directly, consultants are recommended to seek legal advice on their contractual position.
Events and training
Due to COVID-19, we decided to postpone our conference Future-Fit Aotearoa and ACE Awards to Wednesday 2 – Friday 4 February 2022, with the ACE Awards on the evening of Thursday 3 February. Our priority is to keep everyone safe. Moving the conference and awards to February will hopefully ensure we’re well outside of any lockdowns and enable us to deliver the best experience possible for everyone. If you haven't already, register for Future-Fit Aotearoa and the ACE Awards
All other upcoming ACE New Zealand events are online. See our events and training
During the lockdowns in 2020, we spoke to many members and outside professionals about managing a remote team, what physical distancing means and how you can care for staff. Read more:
- Tips for managing a remote team
- It's physical distancing, not isolation
- Caring for your staff in times of stress
Ngā mihi, kia kaha, stay safe.