The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has called on the state government of Victoria to allow a return to work for renovation businesses.

Renovation businesses have been unable to operate for several months now under Stage 4 restrictions, and business owners are “crying out for help and feel largely forgotten,” according to Fiona Nield, executive director, Victoria at HIA.

“For many renovators, Stage 4 restrictions have meant financial hardship and a complete halt to work,” said Nield. “Thousands of these small businesses are suffering under the strain and there is currently no end in sight.”

According to Nield, renovation builders and their customers have been “left waiting for too long now for the state government to let them know when renovation work can commence.”

“The work banned includes not only work inside an occupied house but any building work on that land,” said Nield. “It is not even possible to build a separate home, such as a granny flat, on land where an occupied separate house exists.”

While some parts of the home building industry have been able to continue under the restrictions, Nield said that the impact has not been uniform and the area hardest hit by the lock down has been the renovations sector.

“The ban on renovation work has also caused many homeowners to live with incomplete building work at their home as there was no time to complete works in progress included in the restrictions,” said Nield. “Homeowners may have been willing to accept unfinished work for six weeks, but now they appear likely to have to wait much longer before the work at their home can be completed as restrictions drag on indefinitely.”

Nield said that the state government should provide “certainty for the renovation industry and allow them to safely return to work in homes at the next stage of easing restrictions on 19 October.”

“Renovators, their trades and homeowners deserve more support and certainty from the Victorian government,” said Nield. “It is now time for the government to give them this certainty and allow them to safely get back to work.”