The delta strain of COVID-19 has opened another fault line in the evolution of the housing situation in Australia.

Cleaning companies and strata advocates say government definitions of authorized workers – people able to travel outside their local council area to work – fail to recognize the needs of a more complicated type of housing than autonomous houses.

This is not a complaint about cleaners and not chandeliers, says Chris Duggan, president of industry body Strata Community Association NSW. Rather, it is a dilemma created by the tension between meeting public health requirements and ensuring that buildings are maintained to appropriate standards.

Large apartment buildings require regular cleaning of common areas such as foyers, elevators and hallways, and they generate large volumes of waste. Deborah Aitken lives in a 43-story building in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

“We have 43 separate garbage rooms. If they are not cleaned daily, there is an infestation of rats and cockroaches instantly, ”Ms. Aitken said.

“The waste then goes into large bins, wheeled dumpsters. Someone’s got to get these bins to the loading dock, help them load them. Then they need to be cleaned. If they are not cleaned regularly, you get rats and cockroaches in the garbage room, in the loading dock.

Regulations designed for single-family homes don’t work for apartments living in central Sydney, with around 168,000 people living in apartments, said Karen Stiles, chief executive of Owners Corporation Network, an advocacy group.

Karen Stiles. Louis Douvis

“The government is blind to the strata,” Ms. Stiles said.

“The OCN has called on the government since March 2020 to recognize the unique needs and threat of transmission posed by high density life. ”

A spokesperson for the NSW government said the cleaning of the common goods of apartment buildings was not covered by the “waste collection services” exemption in current regulations.

But even if they were, many buildings did not have people available to oversee that the work was done correctly and safely, Ms Aitken said.

“It’s too difficult for people living in strata to deal with this if they don’t have a facility manager to supervise the people arriving, to make sure that whatever they are doing is essential work. ‘dispose of waste and keep away from everyone and don’t mix it up, ”Ms. Aitken said.

“It’s easy in some buildings and difficult in others.

But with the growth of pests – not to mention the risks of infection – it was crucial to respond to them, Mr. Canavero said.

“If we don’t visit a site for a week and spin the trash cans, the health risk to the building would be huge,” he said.

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