In August, when the company discovered a worker had been in close contact with a COVID-19 case, it immediately closed down one of its Auckland Kāinga Ora building sites, before undertaking deep cleaning.

Home Managing Director Israel Cooper says that while the Auckland worker later tested negative for the virus, the company acted quickly to prevent any potential spread.

“The moment we found out there was a potential risk, we activated our site closure plan. It was Sunday night and, within about five hours, everyone who had visited the site in the previous two weeks had been contacted.”

The swift response saw about 60 people from around nine organisations immediately go into self-isolation, watch for symptoms, and get tested for COVID-19. Two other building sites were also closed as a precaution.

Israel says: “It was a huge team effort. Kāinga Ora, build partners, suppliers and other parties all banded together quickly and efficiently to help protect the community.”

He says the experience has strengthened his belief in New Zealand’s COVID-19 action plan. “It confirmed to us that the COVID-19 operating procedures work and, if followed properly, you can soon get back up and running.”

Kāinga Ora Deputy Chief Executive Construction and Innovation Patrick Dougherty says it’s heartening to see this kind of proactive response from our partners.

“Everyone has returned to the site, where they continue to work safely under COVID-19 operating protocols.

“Workers at construction sites across the country are facing the COVID-19 challenge head on while also playing a critical role in driving the New Zealand economy forward, and helping to deliver much needed homes.”

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Page updated: 1 September 2020