Photo: James Bombales
As the province enters its second week into stage one of the three-part reopening plan, new guidelines have been put forward on how builder model homes might choose to operate.
A document published to the Building Industry and Land Development Association’s (BILD) website in late May from the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) provides guidance to members on model and inventory home protocol.
“It is important for members to appropriately advertise the opening and availability to view model homes/inventory homes to comply with the Ontario Regulations under the COVID-19 State of Emergency,” reads the guidelines document. “Model homes/Inventory homes are under the builder’s control for sale and serve as part of the builder’s supply chain to the local homebuying market.”
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When developing protocol and operating a model home, OHBA recommends implementing informational and social distancing measures, such as posting COVID-19 awareness signs, creating a cleaning schedule and booking viewings in advance, in addition to providing hand sanitizer and face masks. Following public health criteria, like limiting gatherings to five people or less and maintaining physical distance, is also emphasized in the guidelines.
The OHBA document noted that the operation or opening of a model home aligns with essential businesses policies under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, Ontario Regulation 82/20. For instance, model homes would generally fall under the supply chain portion of the regulations, which includes businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services.
“Under the COVID-19 regulation, that model home/inventory home is a part of the builder’s supply chain and therefore can generally be sold and open to the public but operating as a retail operation for the builder, and therefore should follow the requirements for businesses engaging in retail sale of items to the public stated within the regulation,” states the document.
Open houses are still prohibited across the province. In the guidelines document, OHBA states that it advises against advertising the opening of a model home for public viewing as an open house.