Construction in Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong, has resumed with 100% of workers on site, subject to no more than 1 person per 4sqm indoors and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors. There are no vaccination conditions for workers on site, and the authorised worker list is no longer applicable. All restrictions related to local government areas (LGAs) have been removed.
All construction sites in Greater Sydney must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. The plan was developed by the NSW Government in consultation with industry and the unions.
Work in occupied premises (including residential dwellings) is permitted in Greater Sydney and regional NSW without worker limits. Should the Chief Health Officer determine an area is subject to a Stay at Home Order, only prescribed works will be permitted inside the premises with a limit of two workers and no contact between the occupants and workers. Works will still be permitted in an outdoor area.
Extension of construction work days
Construction sites can operate on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays until Christmas, as per the relevant Planning Order. On extended days, noisy works are not permitted and all reasonable noise reduction measures must be applied.
More information is available at nsw.gov.au
Who is permitted to work on a construction site in Greater Sydney?
All construction workers are permitted to work on construction sites in Greater Sydney.
A construction site is a place at which work, including related excavation, is being carried out to erect, demolish, extend or alter a building or structure, or at which civil works are being carried out, but not work carried out in relation to a dwelling in which a person is residing.
Is the COVID-19 Safety Plan for Construction Sites in Greater Sydney required?
Yes, under the Public Health Order all construction sites in Greater Sydney must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan, completed by the principal contractor. A copy of the plan must be available for inspection on site.
These plans will be enforced through SafeWork NSW who conduct regular site inspections. Non-compliance can result in fines and other action, including the exclusion of workers from site.
The plan is available to be filled in as a web form on the NSW Government website.
Can I develop one COVID safety plan for multiple sites where there are common elements across these sites?
The legal obligation on occupiers of premises is:
- to develop and comply with a COVID safety plan that addresses the matters required by the approved COVID Safety checklist
- to keep a copy of the COVID Safety Plan on the premises and make it available for inspection by an authorised officer or police officer as requested.
Businesses develop a COVID Safety Plan by completing each of the actions in the checklist on nsw.gov.au and receive a copy of the Plan as a PDF when they complete the checklist. Businesses must ensure that every site has a copy of a plan that is specific to that particular site.
How many workers are allowed on construction sites?
From 27 September, construction sites in Greater Sydney will be limited to no more than 1 person per 4 square metres of space at the construction site.
From 11 August 2021, construction sites that are permitted to operate in Greater Sydney can have the lesser of: 1 person per 4 square metres of space at the construction site; or 50% of the maximum daily workforce. The maximum daily workforce is the maximum number of workers on site on any day from the start to the end of the project. How to calculate 50% of the maximum daily workforce: Calculate the normal daily number of workers that would be on site over the full length of the project based on your current resourcing plan. Estimate the day when the site will have the maximum amount of trades and construction workers. Take that number of workers and halve to get 50% of maximum daily workforce. The current resourcing plan is the one that applied to the construction site on 31 July 2021 or, if there was no plan on that date, the resourcing plan that applies on the day on which work commences on the construction site. Construction sites in regional and rural NSW (including affected areas of regional and rural NSW) can have the greater of either 1 person per 4m2 at the site or a maximum of 25 persons at the site at any one time.
Are there any vaccination requirements to work on a construction site?
No. There are no longer any vaccination requirements for workers on a construction site in Greater Sydney or regional NSW.
Can work take place on a construction site in regional NSW?
Yes, construction in regional NSW is permitted. Sites can have 1 person per 4 square metres indoors and 1 person per 2 square metres outdoors at the site at any one time.
A COVID-19 Safety Plan is recommended.
What happens if there is a COVID case on a worksite?
NSW Health has recently updated its advice to businesses with a worker who tests positive for COVID-19. This advice deals with the following matters:
• How a business will find out that a worker tests positive for COVID-19
• What to do if a worker who tests positive for COVID-19 has been in the workplace
• How NSW Health be involved
• Businesses responsibilities for informing workers
• Closing down the premises may not be required
• Cleaning guidance
• When workers are returning to work
• Other related information
The updated advice can be viewed here.
Can a worker from Greater Sydney carpool to work?
Carpooling is now allowed but all occupants must be fully vaccinated unless they are from the same household.
Are masks mandatory?
Masks required indoors only.
Workers may remove a mask in certain circumstances, including:
- when eating or drinking
- if the nature of the person's work:(i) makes the wearing of a fitted face covering a risk to the person's, or another person's health and safety, or (ii) means clear enunciation or visibility of the person's mouth is essential
- because of an emergency
- when communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
- if asked to remove their mask to ascertain their identity.
NOTE: The requirement to wear a mask does not apply to a person with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or a disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable.
Are there any mandatory surveillance testing requirements for construction workers?
While there are no mandatory surveillance requirements for workers, some sites may implement rapid antigen testing which has been approved by NSW Health.
A guidance document has been developed and can be found on the NSW Government website.
Can I ask my employees if they are vaccinated, or if they intend to get vaccinated?
Employers who engage front line and emergency workers can require their workers to get vaccinated.
Constuction workers are not considered front line workers and employers cannot mandate that they are vaccinated.
However, these workers can be encouraged to be vaccinated through communication and education strategies. Employers can also consider giving employees paid time off to get vaccinated.
Is everyone allowed back on site at once from 31 July?
Construction sites will need to operate differently with segregation measures in place so that contact between sites and teams is minimised. For some sites, this may mean less workers on site.
Why are construction sites and homes being treated differently?
The priority is to prevent people coming into contact with each other. This is something that can done on unoccupied worksites through mandating physical distancing and the segregation of work teams. This is not as easily addressed in homes so the caps on workers has been introduced, in addition to the requirement that there is no contact between occupiers and workers.
Can I access my site before July 31?
From Thursday 29 July 2021, some preparatory work is permitted on construction sites, including:
- checking or maintaining installations or equipment
- cleaning, waste removal or waste management
- stocktaking or restocking
- delivery of materials or equipment
- servicing or installation of amenities
- relocation on the construction site of plant or equipment
- issuing permits or certificates
- establishing arrangements or procedures to help protect persons from COVID-19
- erecting fencing or hoarding
- inspections, including for technical reasons, or safety, including work, health and safety, or for valuations or other financial reasons
- removing water
- connecting power, fuel or services
- safety work, including work related to fire safety or electrical safety
- surveying or marking out
- fire safety related works
- electrical safety related works
- training required to be carried out on the construction site.
Can fire protection officers attend work if they are from one of the identified LGAs?
Workers involved in fire protection and safety are included in the authorised worker list.
What is being done to ensure construction materials can still be manufactured in the identified LGAs?
Manufacturing businesses for construction can still operate within these LGAs.
How many building workers are allowed on apartment buildings sites?
There are no limits on the number of building workers allowed on a construction site for buildings two storeys and over. However under the restrictions a premises (meaning building site) is allowed to have a density of 1 person per 4m2 rule or 25 persons, whichever is the greater.
Also, from Wednesday 11th August 2021, unoccupied sites are limited to 50 percent of the total number of workers that the site is expected to have at its workforce peak.
These sites must be managed in accordance with the COVID-19 safety plan as completed by the builder or principal contractor for the specific site.
Larger building sites are permitted to have multiple trade teams working at the same time. Controls must be put in place to ensure that those teams remain segregated from each other while on site, do not come into contact with each other on their way in or out of the site and that all other required COVID safety measures are met.