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Covid Safe Plans and QR Codes Update

We have deliberately taken a conservative approach across our network for two reasons – it is socially responsible to do so and we would prefer to operate to the highest standard to ensure your owners corporation’s compliance.
Where there have been anomalies in the regulations and where there are in the future, we have and will always chose to operate to the highest standard, in line with our Best Practices philosophy.
Where the regulations have differed from the verbal advice given by various Government authorities, we will only modify our approach if the verbal advice is either confirmed in writing or is attributable to a person within the Government (ie we have a name and reference number documenting the time and date of the call).
To be clear, as outlined on the Corona Virus website controlled by the Victorian Government, as at 28 May 2021:

  • Every Owners Corporation MUST have a CovidSafe Plan. The COVIDSafe Plan applies to common areas including access points, lifts, foyers and hallways, as well as shared facilities such as gyms, pools, dining and entertainment areas;
  • Apartment buildings do NOT require QR codes upon entry, including in foyers or at a front gate. However, gyms and pools in apartment buildings require electronic record keeping at the entrance to these facilities. To be clear, visitors to your property do NOT need to register; and
  • Notwithstanding visitors to your property do not need to register, every OC MUST use electronic record keeping for any person who attends communal areas for longer than 15 minutes. At this stage, the only approved vehicle for this is the state government’s service,
Additionally, building managers must:
  • limit the number of people in communal areas by using signage that indicates the one person per two square metre density quotient and maximum number permitted in the area at one time; and
  • display signage stating the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in the space at a single time (as permitted by the density quotient), and any current face mask requirements which apply.
If these rules change at any time, we will adjust our response to reflect the government regulations at any future point in time.

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Are you working from home? Here are our 5 top tips...

To help keep you sane and smiling during this period, the Whitbread team have come up with our 5 Top Tips to working from home. Whether an employee or business owner, we hope you benefit from these in some way, shape, or form. Happy reading!

1. Set and stick to a routine. 
When WFH, many people struggle to get into a routine and productive rhythm. They find it difficult to differentiate between a “work” headspace and an “at home” headspace, when their physical environment doesn’t change.

Establishing a “Work from Home Routine” that mirrors your usual working day as closely as possible, is key to maintaining productivity and accountability. Below are some helpful tips to help you stay on track… 

Self-preparation morning routine – don’t let the fact that you don’t need to get up and rush out the door prevent you from making the time to get yourself ready. Physically preparing for the day ahead will help you shift from ‘relax mode’, to ‘work mode’.
Food prep – if you usually take the time before work to prep breakfast and lunch, continue the habit! Looking after yourself with nourishing meals can aid both your physical and mental health while WFH. 
Commute routine – the short commute from your bedroom to your dining table or desk can be great! What you may not realise, is how valuable that “me time” is when you’re ordinarily travelling to and from work. Whether it be in the car or on the train, this time often helps us prepare for, or unwind from the work day. If you’re struggling to switch on / off, continue your commute routine by creating space between work and home. It may be listening to that podcast you love, or simply going for a walk around the block.
Set work hours – this tip follows onto our next topic, as we believe it is one of the most important. Setting work hours is a fundamental part of establishing routine, and promotes accountability.

2. Set your work hours. 
Following on from tip #1, setting your clear work hours is paramount in achieving and sustaining an effective work from home routine. If you are in a managerial position, this practice is not only for your own benefit, but for that of your team, and their ability to operate well in a remote environment.  

Establishing work hours, including lunch breaks, allows for better communication between staff. It helps to manage expectations, as everyone is aware of when the other is contactable. It promotes accountability and productivity – alas, a more effective WFH team. article image WFH

By not physically leaving the office at the end of the day, it can be tempting to work through lunch breaks and do considerable amounts of overtime. We all put in the extra hours when necessary, however it is important to set limits in order to prevent overtime consuming your personal time, becoming overwhelming and detrimentally affecting relationships and mental health. 

At the end of the day, shut down your computer, close your office door (if you have one!). You, your team, and loved ones will be grateful!

3. Communication is key. 
Working remotely means you don’t have the luxury of popping over to a colleague’s desk whenever you like. However, this shouldn’t stop you from reaching out and starting conversations! It simply means adapting to new ways of communicating.

Continue to reach out to the same people you usually would for help. For employers and managers, ensure you are accessible to your staff, and check-in regularly. This not only ensures the team operates smoothly, but can also help to break down some of the social isolation that comes with WFH.

Some tips to help facilitate communication when WFH…

Take advantage of modern communication tools – don’t limit yourself to text based communication such as emails and SMS. Modern technology allows us to video conference at the click of a button. Alternatively, pick-up the phone and have a conversation! Talking “face to face” or over the phone can help eradicate any miscommunications that can occur via email and text messaging. It also helps keep us more connected.
Adopt a company-wide video conferencing tool –decide on one video conferencing tool or software that the business will use for both internal and external meetings. This streamline approach is important when communicating with clients from a professional point of view, and avoids the confusion of learning multiple platforms.
Click here for some tips on how you can “look your best” on camera!  

4. Don't underestimate cyber security. 
Since the Coronavirus hit Australia, cybercrime has increased significantly. With more and more Australians WFH, and relying heavily on technology to communicate, and do their jobs, cyber criminals are taking advantage. 

Working remotely can provide additional access points to a network, and thus more opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities.  To read more on current scams and how to protect yourself – click here.

Reducing your risk

Hypervigilance – be hypervigilant about the prevalence of phishing emails and scams – if it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Delete any suspicious emails or messages.
Security software – ensure systems, including firewalls, are up to date with the latest security software. 
Secure all devices – ensure your devices are secure and password protected e.g. laptops, desktop computers and phones.
Ensure you have Cyber insurance - Unfortunately no IT security system is 100% secure. Cyber Insurance is an essential mitigation strategy to minimise what can be a devastating financial impact to your business following an attack. Click here for more information on Cyber Liability.
For more detailed information on the rise of cyber-attacks amid COVID-19 and, risk management strategies to combat this, click here.

5. Consider limiting news and social media consumption. 
We understand that the uncertainty surrounding the current climate may be causing you angst. The situation is evolving and changing rapidly, and while it is important to stay informed, it is equally important to not become overwhelmed with too much anxiety provoking news and social media.

Find a middle ground. Below are some tips on how you can stay in the loop whilst taking care of your mental health.

Switch off – avoid the 24/7 news channels unless the information or specific topic being covered is likely to impact you directly. Make a habit to check the main news headlines only once or twice a day. This keeps you informed, but helps you avoid being sucked into the vortex of click bait and repeat information.
Social connection – use social media primarily for communicating with family and friends. Social media is an excellent tool to stay connected with our loved ones, however try avoid the suggested and sponsored posts in your feed which often contain false information and speculative stories.
Go straight to the source – avoid reading suggested and sponsored articles shared by spam or untrustworthy sources online. If you are looking for accurate information on Coronavirus, consult health authority and government websites or news sources e.g. the Department of Health, or other Australian Government webpages.

Article from Lia de Sousa


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12 Oct 2021

Vaccination Requirements for All Authorised Workers

From 15 October 2021, all workers in Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria on the Authorised Worker List are required to provide evidence to employers that they have:

  • Received at least their first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination, or
  • Have a booking to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by 22 October 2021, or
  • Have a medical exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner
The 15 October deadline will not apply to workers who already have existing requirements under CHO directions – groups like construction, freight, healthcare, aged care and education will still have to comply with previous advice
Authorised workers (such as contractors) are required to show proof of vaccination to their employer to be allowed onto a site or premises to work
According to the Chief Health Officer’s Directions, an “employer’ in relation to a worker is defined as:
  • The person who employs or engages the worker; or
  • If the worker is self-employed - the worker
SCA (Vic) therefore advises its members that from 15 October onwards, there is a requirement for contractors to provide proof of vaccination status to their employer in accordance with the CHO directions, and requirements applicable to all authorised workers under relevant public health restrictions
Evidence of vaccination status may include:
  • An immunisation history statement available from Medicare;
  • A MyGov COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificate;
  • Relevant information from a My Health Record and/or Medicare Online Account, or
  • Other documentation/proof of relevant medical exemption
In the intervening period before an individual’s immunisation history is updated, evidence of vaccination can also include a recent vaccination appointment booking confirmation email, or the card received at the time of vaccination


What this means for you

As a contractor to any Owners Corporation managed by MBCM Strata Specialists, you will be required to supply one of the aforementioned documents as evidence of your vaccination.


Work Permits

You must carry a work permit to attend any of our owners corporation properties in line with your work orders, at all times.


What this means for you

You must carry a current and valid work permit when conducting work for any Owners Corporation managed by MBCM Strata Specialists.


Permitted Work

According to advice provided directly to SCA (Vic) from the Department of Health, authorised work and essential services relevant to the strata sector which may continue during lockdown include (but are not limited to):

  • Required maintenance works inside or outside individual homes and apartments, including:
    • Essential infrastructure and services required to maintain human health, safety and wellbeing, including construction, maintenance and repair (whether provided by a public or private undertaking)
    • Services to support ongoing provision and regulation of electricity, gas, water, sewage and waste and recycling services and their maintenance - this includes services to ensure solar or battery supply at off-grid premises
    • Critical repairs where required for emergency or safety purposes, including (but not limited to):
      • Burst water service
      • Blocked or broken toilet system
      • Serious roof leak
      • Gas leak
      • Dangerous electrical fault
      • Flooding or serious flood damage
      • Serious storm or fire damage
      • An essential service or appliance for hot water, water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundering is not working
      • The gas, electricity or water supply is not working
      • The property does not meet minimum rental standards
      • A safety-related device, such as a smoke alarm or pool fence, is not working
      • An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working and causes a lot of water to be wasted
      • Any fault or damage in the property that makes it unsafe or insecure, including pests, mould or damp caused by or related to the building structure
      • A serious problem with a lift or staircase
  • Outdoor works at occupied premises (to be completed solo, unless additional workers are required for safety purposes), including:
    • Maintenance, repairs and cleaning (such as painting and pool maintenance)
    • Home installations
    • Home solar panel installations - if roof cavity access is required, it must have external access
    • Landscaping and gardening
  • Renovation works in the event that premises are entirely unoccupied
    • In an apartment block, all units must be vacated in order for a premises to be considered ‘unoccupied’
    • In a townhouse or villa, renovations may proceed in line with small-scale/residential construction regulations, provided that no occupants are present
  • Services related to property settlement or commencement/end-of-lease (including removalists)
  • Urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises - this includes scheduled, routine cleaning of common property areas in apartment buildings (commercial cleaning of individual residences is currently not permitted)
  • Routine rubbish and waste disposal services
  • Commercial cleaning operations in the event that a building is designated as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 exposure site
  • For the purposes of these directions:
  • Repair and maintenance worker means a person who works in connection with:
    • Laundry services;
    • Dry cleaning services;
    • Carwashing services;
    • Commercial cleaning service;
    • Locksmith services;
    • Roadside assistance services;
    • Pool and spa maintenance services for commercial pools and spas;
    • Vehicle and mechanical repair services;
    • Outdoor maintenance, repairs, and cleaning, including at occupied premises;
    • Outdoor home installations;
    • Home solar panel installations that involve outdoor work or in roof cavities with external access; or
    • Critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency or safety.


What this means for you

If you are completing any work for MBCM Strata Specialists, you guarantee that the work you are conducting is in line with the aforementioned list of Permitted Work.