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Construction sector guidance

Sector guidance for Construction business within metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

See below for up to date operational guidance and frequently asked questions for this sector.

For frequently asked questions that applies to all businesses go to our

Business Operating Reductions - Construction

Step One restrictions

What are the new restrictions for construction sites?

From 11:59pm on 13 September 2020 the following changes will need to be adopted by all Melbourne construction sites.

All sites will:

  • Have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place that is regularly updated. Where practicable COVIDSafe Plans should be designed with input from employees and their representatives
  • Allow no more than one worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace.

All employees, supervisors and on-site specialists will be:

  • prohibited from car-pooling to and from work, except in limited circumstances
  • be required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace
  • required to limit movement between multiple sites and observed PPE and hygiene measures if working between sites.

Each small-scale construction site will:

  • reduce the number of people on-site to five people plus a supervisor at any one time
  • Limit movement of workers between different sites. Specialist contractors that need to move between sites may only visit three sites per week. All workers moving between multiple sites must observe PPE and hygiene measures.
  • supervisors can move between sites subject to enhanced COVIDSafe practices.

Each large-scale construction site will:

  • be limited to a daily maximum of workers on site calculated as the higher of:
    • 25% of their baseline workforce; and
    • 5 workers.

All workers count towards the applicable daily worker limit with the exception of workers specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace.

Baseline workforce is the average daily number of workers on site across the project lifecycle, as derived from the project’s resourcing plan as at 31 July 2020. The resourcing plan and calculation are subject to audit. Project lifecycle commences from the date of on-site mobilisation and ends at handover.

  • Limit movement of workers between different sites. Specialist contractors that need to move between sites should visit no more than three sites per week. All workers moving between multiple sites must observe PPE and hygiene measures.

Each early stage residential land development site will:

  • follow density restrictions of no more than 10 workers per hectare.

All workers count towards the density restrictions.

Application

What is considered a large-scale construction site?

A construction site is considered large scale for the purposes of these guidelines if it is:

  • Permitted to be (at completion) more than three storeys high (excluding basement), or
  • Larger than 1,500m2 floor size (inclusive of all floors) or
  • Any office, internal fit our or retail premises, or
  • Industrial, large format or retail use.

What is considered an early stage land development project?

An early stage land development project comprises all civil works undertaken on open air, large greenfield sites that are associated with and preparatory to construction of multiple individual residential dwellings or industrial or commercial development on that site (including site remediation and site preparation works, construction of utilities and construction of roads, bridges, stormwater/flood management works and trunk infrastructure).

For residential developments, once subdivision occurs, the construction of that dwelling on a part of the site is regarded as a small scale construction project. For large scale residential development (e.g. retirement village) with a single entity responsible for construction, once dwellings are commenced, it will be considered large scale construction.

In relation to early stage land development for industrial or commercial development, once construction of a building, warehouse or physical structure has commenced, it will be considered a large-scale construction site.

What is considered to be a small scale construction site?

A small scale construction site is a construction site that does not meet the definition of a large scale construction site.

What is considered to be construction of critical and essential infrastructure?

Construction of critical and essential infrastructure is not subject to business operating reductions. It means:

  • construction or maintenance (including civil works and building activities) of critical and essential infrastructure that is urgently required for the purposes of sustaining human health, safety and wellbeing, regardless of whether those activities are privately or publicly funded;
  • activities prescribed by government from time to time as “State Critical Infrastructure Projects”;
  • construction and maintenance for the purposes of national security and defence; and
  • activities that are deemed by Government to have satisfied the test in (a) and endorsed by the Chief Health Officer on a case by case basis.

The expectation is that very few activities will meet the above tests. Project proponents can contact COVID-19Team@ecodev.vic.gov.au to apply for a determination by the Chief Health Officer.

What are the rules for civil construction?

All civil works and all building and construction activities (whether publicly or privately funded) are subject to the large- scale, small scale and early stage land development restrictions unless those activities:

  • are any works up to (and including) the ‘base stage’ works for small scale residential construction, under the definition of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995
  • constitute construction of critical and essential infrastructure (see above); or
  • constitute critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety, as provided for by the Step One “Permitted Work Premises” published on the DHHS website.

Are the restrictions on construction the same in regional Victoria as they are in metropolitan Melbourne?

No. These further restrictions apply to all works in metropolitan areas under Step One.

What are the arrangements for the wearing of personal protective equipment by workers on site?

Workers should wear the required personal protective equipment at all times. Specialist contractors who may be required to move between sites will require PPE and hygiene measures and be restricted to attending only one site on any given day.

The Victorian Government is working closely with industry – and will ensure they have the most appropriate personal protective equipment for every setting.

Industry will be required to have personal protective equipment and there will be checks to ensure they do. If businesses are struggling to get the personal protective equipment they need, Government is available for advice and support.

Reduced operations requirement

What is the definition of a worker?

Workers refer to people working on a site including, but not limited to, owners, managers, employees, contractors, workers on labour hire and security.

It does not include workers specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace e.g. workers doing additional cleaning of high-touch points or overseeing the implementation of COVIDSafe practices.

Workers do not include suppliers and deliveries (e.g. concrete testers and the like) who are only present onsite for a short period of time and these do not count towards the daily worker limits.

What is the definition of specialist contractors

  • Appliance installers
  • Asphalters
  • Brick layers
  • Cabinet installers
  • Carpenters
  • Carpet layers
  • Caulkers
  • Cladding installers
  • Concreters
  • Earthworks and drainage specialists
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Floor installers
  • Floor layers
  • Flora and fauna specialists
  • Garage door installers
  • Gas contractors
  • Geotechnical specialists
  • Gold class riggers
  • Heritage and cultural heritage specialists
  • Insulation installers
  • Joiners
  • Landscape architects
  • Mechanics who install and repair plant
  • Mobile Cranes – Operators and dogmen
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers, including roof plumbers
  • Post Tensioners
  • Precast installers
  • Renderers
  • Retaining wall specialists
  • Security system installers
  • Sewer contractors
  • Shower screen/mirror installers
  • Solar installers
  • Sprinkler fitters
  • Steel fixers
  • Telecommunications installers
  • Termite specialists
  • Tile layers, including roof tilers
  • Traffic engineers
  • Vertical access riggers
  • Water proofers
  • Welders
  • Window and glass installers/glaziers

Frequently asked questions

Read below for commonly asked questions by businesses within the Construction sector.

For frequently asked questions that applies to all businesses go to our

Frequently asked questions - regional Victoria

Updated on: 21 September 2020

The following frequently asked questions apply to regional Victoria. Find out more about Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Specified worksite operators will be required to declare in an attachment to their COVIDSafe Plan:

  • the location and nature of the activities undertaken at sites intended to continue restricted operations;
  • (if applicable) the baseline workforce levels calculated for each site and the methodology and time period used to establish these levels;
  • the restricted workforce levels proposed for each site during the restriction period calculated in compliance with the order; and
  • that the operator will retain and agrees to make available for inspection the business records and calculations used to establish the restricted workforce levels and demonstrate compliance with those restricted workforce levels through the period to which the restriction apply.

The COVIDSafe Plan and attachment (as specified above) must be retained and be available for inspection on request. It will not be otherwise be submitted to or endorsed by the Victorian Government.

Operators will also be required to retain and make available for inspection evidence of compliance with the daily workforce limits, including roster, time and attendance, payroll and other site attendance records.

Solar panels can be installed at construction sites, including a residential renovation where the property is fully vacated, provided specialist contractors adhere to the worksite’s COVIDSafe Plan and are included in the daily workforce caps.

Solar panels cannot be installed on existing residential or commercial properties under the First Step and Second Step, unless the property at which the installation is taking place is considered a construction site. However, critical repairs to solar panels can be made where required in an emergency or for safety reasons.

Frequently asked questions - metropolitan Melbourne

Updated on: 2 September 2020

The following frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne only, which is currently at Step One of Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Implementing a COVIDSafe Worksite

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Construction and Building services that continue to operate are required to develop a High Risk COVIDSafe plan focused on safety, prevention and appropriate response in the event of a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case being linked to the workplace.

For a template, see our High Risk COVIDSafe Plan page.

The baseline daily workforce for a large-scale construction site is equivalent to the daily average number of workers on the large-scale construction site across the project lifecycle, as derived from the large-scale construction site’s resourcing plan as of 31 July 2020.

The project lifecycle commences from the date of on-site mobilisation and ends at handover. Further guidance on how to do this calculation is available in the industry specific guidance which is accessible on the Business Victoria website.

The resourcing plan for each site and the time period used to establish these levels are subject to audit and are required to be included as an attachment to your High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

More information on the High-Risk COVIDSafe Plan for Construction and detailed guidance can be found on our High Risk COVIDSafe Plan page.

No. You do not need to submit or seek approval of your High Risk COVIDSafe Plan. However, you must have the plan in place and comply with all the relevant requirements. You must produce this plan upon request by WorkSafe or other relevant authorities.

You will also be required to retain and make available for inspection evidence of the peak workforce capacity level determined, including roster, time and attendance, payroll and other site attendance records.

Yes. The principal contractor will determine which of the work will be prioritised to deliver its construction program, while ensuring the safety and security of the site.

Details of employees who share accommodation with individuals who work at other high-risk workplaces is important to support contact tracing in the event of a positive case.

If your employee discloses that they live with another person who works in a high-risk workplace you should retain this information in employee records.

No. All workers on a site count towards the daily worker limit, with the exception of workers specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace, workers undertaking emergency repairs and maintenance and workers engaged as suppliers and in deliveries (e.g. workers operating concrete trucks, concrete testers and the like who are only present onsite for a short period of time).

Each construction site must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place.

Compliance and enforcement

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Government is introducing a specified worksite reporting regime supported by independent compliance reviews and site inspections. The process is being established to ensure the specified worksites comply with the intent of the order and can provide independently verifiable evidence of their compliance during and after the restriction period.

Only if the worker was already employed on that project before 11:59pm, Wednesday 5 August. No new employment arrangements can be entered into that require workers crossing in and out of restricted areas.

Workers in permitted industries can travel to and from regional Victoria for work, subject to meeting any relevant workplace requirements and having in their possession a Worker Permit (for workers who reside in a Melbourne). Stage 4 restrictions will apply to workers who enter into a Stage 3 area.

When travelling between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, workers should only travel alone or with members of their household.

All construction projects in metropolitan Melbourne are defined as high risk and are required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place.

Site operators will be randomly selected for independent compliance review and asked to demonstrate compliance with the order. To facilitate these compliance reviews operators will be required to retain and make available for inspection project resourcing plans, site rosters, time and attendance data, payroll data and other site attendance records as requested by relevant authorities.

All construction sites are required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan and must follow density restrictions of no more than one worker per four square metres in enclosed spaces.

Additional restrictions apply to:

  • Workers visiting multiple sites
  • Early stage residential land development sites
  • Small scale construction sites
  • Large-scale construction sites.

In considering whether the site size is more than 1,500m2, you need to take into account the site’s total floor area as opposed to the site’s footprint.

Example: If there is a 3-storey building, with each level having a floor area of 1200 m2, the total floor area will be calculated as 3600 m2. On that basis it would be categorised as a large-scale construction for the purposes of the restrictions.

No. These further restrictions apply to all works in metropolitan areas under Stage 4 restrictions.

No. There is no change to restrictions for the construction industry from the commencement of the First Step. Current restrictions remain in place for metropolitan Melbourne from now until the start of the Second Step, where the construction industry will shift to the 'Restricted' level.

Authorised officers will be undertaking site inspections for workplaces subject to reduced operation requirements to ensure they are complying and have a complete High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

Permitted work premises

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Construction contracts can be signed and commenced if they are works relating to a permitted construction work premises:

  • Building and non-building construction (including residential)
  • Construction of critical and essential infrastructure and services to support these projects, and other construction in line with restrictions
  • Critical repairs to any premises, are allowed, where required for emergency or safety.

Employers of a permitted construction work must have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan in place for each workplace/site.

In very limited circumstances, an exemption can be considered for a construction project if it assessed as critical and essential AND is urgently required AND is required for the purposes of sustaining human health, safety and wellbeing.

Any exemption must be deemed by the Victorian Government to meet those criteria and endorsed by the Chief Health Officer. It is expected only a small number of projects would meet that criteria.

If you wish to apply for an exemption, you can contact COVID-19Team@ecodev.vic.gov.au. You will need to include details on: the nature of the project; what stage it is in; site information including indications of where concentration of workers will occur during the day; workforce profile information; a strong rationale against the three criterial above; provide options around staging differently, deprioritising some work and reducing the workforce; details of any additional mitigations that will be taken beyond those that are standard for large-scale construction projects; and a clear articulation of the consequences of not receiving an exemption.

The current list of State Critical Infrastructure Projects that are exempted projects can be found on the DHHS website.

Yes, the Permitted Work Premises List includes the manufacturing of cement and lime as a permitted industry.

Concrete manufacturing is also permitted as an ancillary and support business necessary to ensure the production and supply of essential goods (concrete) for the operations of the construction industry, which is a Permitted Work Premises.

Yes, this activity is considered ancillary in support of ensuring supply of essential services and contractors can apply for a permitted work permit.

Yes, construction work on a vacated residence is considered ordinary building construction which is permitted work. In order for construction to proceed, the residents must have fully vacated the residence.

All ordinary residents of that property must have relocated to another place of residence, with no one staying or living at the residence for it to be considered a vacated residence.

Yes, if the works constitute critical repairs required for emergency or safety.

Where the Notice or Order that has been issued by a Private Building Surveyor or Municipal Building Surveyor requires works that are to address matters that have been identified as a safety matter and/or is a danger to the life, safety or health of any member of the public or of any person using the building/land/place of public entertainment or to any property, the required works can be carried out if a building is occupied.

Works can also be carried where safety or emergency service(s), installation(s) or equipment have not been maintained in accordance with the occupancy permit.

Maintenance and repairs activities for inhabited properties can only be completed for emergency reasons and/or environmental obligations. All other maintenance and warranty work should be deferred during Stage 4 restrictions.

Work at uninhabited properties must be undertaken in accordance the with small-scale construction rules.

During the Second Step, construction work is not permitted on a premises occupied by a business providing an essential service unless it is required in an emergency or for safety reasons. This includes installation of solar panels.

Construction is permitted on an unoccupied premises, in accordance with the relevant construction industry restrictions.

Maintenance work is not allowed on a business that is a permitted workplace unless it is required in an emergency or for safety reasons.

Construction is permitted on an unoccupied premises, in accordance with the relevant construction industry restrictions.

Permitted Workers onsite

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Yes.

No. You cannot attend work onsite if you are not a permitted worker working in a permitted industry in an approved category for onsite work. For further details about the Permitted Worker Scheme, please see the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

Workers who breach the Permitted Worker Scheme, including travelling to a worksite without a Permitted Worker Permit, are subject to on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 (for individuals).

Yes, commercial cleaners can continue to operate where their services are required for the operations of a Permitted Work Premises, or for a Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. Any cleaning service that relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health response is considered a Permitted Work Premises under the current health directions and is allowed to operate. Anyone working onsite must carry a Permitted Worker Permit.

Specialist contractors can visit up to three sites per week. This includes mobile crane operators and vertical access riggers among other relevant roles. However we ask these workers to minimise interactions with people on site as much as possible to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 from site to site.

Click here for a list of specialist contractors.

Stage 4 restrictions are designed to limit movement as much as possible. Workers, including supervisors and managers, must not work at more than one site unless it is not reasonable and practical for the supervisor/manager to be limited to only one work site.

If there is a genuine reason why the supervisor/manager cannot be limited to one site, the employer must have systems of work in place to minimise the number of workers working across multiple sites, and maintain a record of all workers who do so.

For small-scale construction, supervisors can move between sites and specialist contractors can move between up to three sites per week. These arrangements must be recorded in, and observe the requirements of, the High Risk COVIDSafe plan at each site.

For more guidance on small-scale construction sites, please see the relevant section of the Business Victoria website.

Worksites must not exceed a daily maximum of workers on site calculated as the greater of:

  • 25 per cent of their baseline site workforce (calculated below); and
  • 5 workers.

All workers count towards the applicable daily worker limit with the exception of workers specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace.

Movement of builders and contractors between residential sites must be managed in line with requirements for small-scale construction. Under those requirements, workers’ movements must be limited, supervisors and specialists who provide safety services may move between as many small-scale construction sites as necessary to fulfil their duties, and specialist contractors may move between up to three sites a week.

These arrangements must be recorded in, and observe the requirements of, the High Risk COVIDSafe plan at each site. The full suite of requirements for small-scale construction can be found on the Business Victoria site.

Under the Stay at Home Directions, individuals are only allowed to leave their homes for four reasons. Visiting a building site is not one of them.

If a homeowner attends the site for work purposes they will be counted towards the number of workers on the site.

If the homeowner is seeking to conduct an inspection of the site this should be conducted remotely where possible. If the homeowner must attend the site to complete a final inspection, this should be done alone.

Yes, providing the work is undertaken in line with the Workplace Directions and Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions.

No, this not permitted if the adjoining property is not vacant, unless the protection works relate to critical and essential infrastructure, or where critical repairs are required for emergency or safety.

No, this is not permitted.

Work sites must make every effort to minimise the numbers of workers on site at any one time. It would be expected that there would not be more than five workers and a supervisor on site at any one time, unless it were absolutely necessary for that activity due to safety (e.g. a slab pour).

In metropolitan Melbourne, under the First and Second Steps, solar panel installation is only permitted on vacant premises or on construction sites.

The solar industry is considered part of the construction industry and must follow restrictions or requirements for this industry. This includes having a COVIDSafe Plan in place. For installations in metropolitan Melbourne, a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan must be in place.

Solar panel installers must also adhere to the workplace requirements of the construction site, including workforce reduction requirements.

No. Restrictions will be determined by the primary use of each specific work premise. This may mean that a business operates under different restrictions at its different work premises.

Under both the 'heavily restricted' and the 'restricted' level, only workers who are on the specialist contractor list or otherwise permitted (e.g. safety specialist, undertaking statutory functions or site supervisor for small-scale construction) can work at more than one site.

As part of the Second Step of the Roadmap in metropolitan Melbourne, gardening and landscaping undertaken by registered businesses will be added to the Permitted Industries List. The work needs to be completely contact free and conducted exclusively by an individual worker. Businesses must have an ABN.

These services are not currently restricted in regional Victoria.

Large-scale construction

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Any construction site that is “permitted to be (at completion) more than three storeys high (excluding basement)” is considered a large-scale construction site, regardless of how many storeys are being worked on at any one time.

No. For large-scale construction sites, the total is 25% of their baseline site workforce on one day, regardless of shifts. If a builder wanted to manage the site with two equal non-overlapping shifts, each shift would be limited to 12.5% of the average daily number of workers on site across the project lifecycle.

Council, university and federally funded projects must comply with the same construction rules for large scale, small scale and early stage residential land development project, unless those activities constitute:

  • construction of critical and essential infrastructure (see above) and has received an exemption by the Chief Health Officer; or
  • critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety (as provided for by the Stage 4 Restrictions “Permitted Work Premises” published on the DHHS website); or
  • construction for the purposes of national security or defence.

The current list of State Critical Infrastructure Projects that are exempted projects can be found on the DHHS website.

Yes, but only where manufacturing is specific to supporting a Permitted Work Premises. Ancillary and support businesses are able to open on-site to ensure the necessary production, supply, manufacture, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services required for the operations of a Permitted Work Premises, or for Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. The business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose.

All civil works and all building and construction activities (whether publicly or privately funded) are subject to the large- scale, small scale and early stage land development restrictions unless those activities:

  • are any works up to (and including) the ‘base stage’ works for small scale residential construction, under the definition of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995
  • constitute construction of critical and essential infrastructure (see above); or
  • constitute critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety, as provided for by the Stage 4 Restrictions “Permitted Work Premises” published on the DHHS website.

All civil works are subject to the large scale, small scale and early stage residential land development project tests and restrictions, unless those activities:

  • constitute construction of critical and essential infrastructure; or
  • constitute critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety (as provided for by the Stage 4 Restrictions “Permitted Work Premises.”

Baseline workforce is the average daily number of workers on site across the project lifecycle, as derived from the project’s resourcing plan as at 31 July 2020.

The resourcing plan and calculation are subject to audit.

Project lifecycle commences from the date of on-site mobilisation and ends at handover.

Final commissioning, tuning, authority compliance and pre-handover are all considered to be construction activities on site, and must comply with the daily worker limit for large scale construction, calculated as 25% of baseline site workforce. Because the baseline site workforce is calculated across the project lifecycle (from on-site mobilisation through to handover), the expectation is that the 25% limit will provide capacity to accommodate the smaller number of workers (relative to the number of workers required on site per day during peak construction) that are required to be on site for final commissioning, tuning, authority compliance and pre-handover activities.

Defect rectification where it relates to critical repairs to the premises, are allowed, where required for emergency or safety under the permitted work premises list.

Small-scale and residential construction

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

No. This is not allowed under the Stage 4 restrictions.

Early stage land development sites are subject to the same movement restrictions as other construction sites.

In the case of small scale construction sites, any works up to (and including) the ‘base stage’ under the definition of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 are site preparation activities and considered an ancillary activity towards the construction industry. These small scale base stage works are to be undertaken in line with the existing worker mobility clause in the Workplace Directions.

These works can only be undertaken in vacated sites and in compliance with the small-scale construction rules. Work is not permitted in an occupied residential site unless it is required in an emergency or for safety reasons.

Yes. More than five workers can be present on site to ensure slab pouring is completed safely, but should be the minimum number possible for that activity.

Slab pours are deemed site preparation activities and are considered an ancillary activity towards the construction industry.

The Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) has prescribed stages of building work for the purpose of progress payments to residential builders. These include:

  • Base Stage
  • Frame Stage
  • Lock-Up Stage
  • Fixing Stage

End of site preparation is understood as any works up to (and including) the ‘base stage’.

Tradespeople and builders can only visit your home for renovations if you have fully vacated the property and are not staying there during the period of Stage 4 restrictions.

If you have vacated the property, then renovations can proceed in line with restrictions on residential construction.

If you’re still living at the property, then trades people and builders can only make emergency repairs.

Site finishing and completion activities are considered an ancillary activity towards the construction industry and therefore can continue to operate. The site finishing activities are to be undertaken in line with the existing worker mobility clause in the Workplace Directions , .

The Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 has prescribed stages of building work for the purpose of progress payments to residential builders. Site finishing is understood as any works following completion of the ‘fixing stage’.

Yes, but only if the work is conducted solely by people residing in the household. Otherwise, residential construction is only permitted on property sites that have been fully vacated.

Renovations in apartment complexes / strata buildings are not permitted unless the entire property is vacant.

A property will not be considered fully vacant if residents are still residing in a separate building on the property to the building where the renovation is being undertaken. Similarly, a residential tower will not be considered fully vacant unless the entire residential tower is vacated.

The Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (Vic) has prescribed stages of building work for the purpose of progress payments to residential builders. These include:

  • Base Stage
  • Frame Stage
  • Lock-Up Stage
  • Fixing Stage

For small-scale construction, the restrictions and term ‘construction activity’ is applicable from after the Base Stage to completion of the Fixing Stage.

Site preparation activities are considered an ancillary activity towards the construction industry and therefore can continue to operate. Site preparation activities are to be undertaken in line with the existing worker mobility clause in the Workplace Directions.

The Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 has prescribed stages of building work for the purpose of progress payments to residential builders. End of site preparation is understood as anything up to (and including) the Base Stage.

Site finishing activities are considered an ancillary activity towards the construction industry and therefore can continue to operate. The site finishing activities are to be undertaken in line with the existing worker mobility clause in the Workplace Directions.

The Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 has prescribed stages of building work for the purpose of progress payments to residential builders. Site finishing is understood as any works following completion of the Fixing Stage.

Workforce

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

No. Concrete drivers who are present onsite for a short period of time are considered delivery drivers and do not count towards the daily worker limits.

All roles that fall within the specialist contractor category must abide by the applicable restrictions.

Specialists and contractors

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Unless you are on the specialist contractor list or otherwise permitted (e.g. safety specialist, undertaking statutory functions or site supervisor for small-scale construction), you can only work at 1 site while the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions are in place.

If you are working on a permitted construction project and are required to attend site for inspection and safety purposes, you can do so. You will require a Permitted Worker Permit and limitations apply.

Workers that provide architecture, engineering, surveying, building inspection or compliance services or statutory functions must work from home where possible. Where these workers are required to attend sites for inspection and safety purposes, they are counted as workers. Workers in this category who need to move between sites should visit no more than three times a week, except where those visits are required to meet a minimum statutory obligation or requirement.

Specialists who provide safety services which enable a permitted work premises to safely undertake permitted activity are not limited in the number of sites they can visit per week.

This includes specialists who install critical OHS equipment, including scaffolding, safety rails, guardrails, stair void protection systems, other critical safety equipment/installations, traffic controllers, asbestos removalists, and those who conduct safety inspections (including fire safety services) and training talks.

Yes, a reference to ‘concreters’ under the specialist contractors list includes associated trades, including site set-out specialists.

Emergency repairs are urgent repairs which must be undertaken to keep individuals within properties and work premises safe, to prevent individuals (including workers) from injury, to prevent property damage or damage to goods, or for urgent repair to an essential service (for example for example fixing a roof or restoring an electricity connection).

If you need to have a tradesperson over, maintain your distance, wear a face covering and minimise physical contact by paying by contactless payment or another non-cash method.

Other

These frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne.

Where possible other arrangements, such as getting driven to and from work by another household member, are preferable to carpooling. Under the current restrictions, you are permitted to share a vehicle with another person even if you do not ordinarily reside with that other person if it is not otherwise reasonable and practical for you to leave home for work in a permitted industry.

The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). If traveling in a car with someone who is not part of your household, you should sit in the back seat in order to maintain physical distancing, and wear a face covering in the car.

Hardware, building and garden supplies retail premises are permitted to remain open for trade purposes. You should check with your local retailer that they are open and their operating hours.

Employed on a project includes any workers who have current employment arrangements relevant to that site. This would allow for Specialist contractors and other workers to work on the construction site even if they may not have been physically present or completed induction at 5 August 2020.

Travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria should be limited and only be undertaken for critical and essential reasons.

Yes. Emergency responses or repairs are not impacted by the Stage 4 restrictions.

Yes. Trade waste from construction projectors will be classified as waste from commercial contractors. This will enable access to waste transfer stations.

Under Stage 4 restrictions the intent is to reduce movement wherever possible. Trips to access waste transfer stations should only be done when necessary. Workers should keep a log of any places visited including date, time and place of attendance.

Yes. Up to date information can be found at this website: www.sro.vic.gov.au/homebuilder-grant-guidelines

Yes, landscape architects are classified as specialist contractors, and can attend construction sites if their work cannot be completed from home.

Workers that provide architecture, engineering, surveying, building inspection or compliance services or statutory functions must work from home where possible. Where these workers are required to attend construction sites for inspection and safety purposes, they are considered specialist contractors. Workers in this category who need to move between sites should visit no more than three times a week, unless those visits are required to meet a minimum statutory obligation or requirement.

Workers engaged in constructing landscapes, landforming and the provision of retaining walls and paths, decks, fences and garden planting, are permitted to work on construction projects and must comply with rules relevant to those sites.

Residential landscaping in inhabited premises that is not required for urgent / emergency repair or maintenance is not permitted. Workers are not permitted to operate on-site for these purposes.

See more: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/professional-scientific-technical-services-covid-19

Repairs and maintenance can occur at a Permitted Work Premises if they are required for the operations of that premises. It is up to the operator of the workplace to determine whether repairs and maintenance are required for this purpose.

Upgrades and replacement of electricity or gas consuming equipment cannot be undertaken in residential properties under Stage 4 restrictions, unless it is required in an emergency or for safety reasons.

Upgrades and replacements can be undertaken at construction sites, including a residential renovation where the home is fully vacated, provided specialist contractors adhere to the worksite’s COVIDSafe Plan and workers are included in the daily workforce caps.

From the commencement of the Second Step, metropolitan Melbourne will move to the 'restricted' level for the construction industry. As part of this transition to new restriction levels, there will be an easing of restrictions on site limits and numbers of sites that workers may attend per week.

Site limits under the Second Step 'Restricted' level are:

  • Early stage land development: No more than 20 workers per hectare
  • Small-scale construction: No more than 5 workers per site plus the supervisor
  • Large-scale construction: Up to the higher of either 85 per cent of the baseline workforce or 15 workers per site (current restrictions, which continue into the First Step, limit the daily maximum number of onsite workers to the higher of either 25 per cent of their baseline workforce or 5 workers per site).

Numbers of sites that workers may attend per week under the Second Step 'Restricted' level are:

  • Early stage land development: Minimise movement of workers across sites wherever possible
  • Small-scale construction: Specialist contractors can move between up to five sites per week, with a maximum of two site visits per day (current restrictions, which permit specialist contractors to move between up to three sites per week, with a maximum of one per day are eased to a maximum of two per day in the Second Step)
  • Large-scale construction: Specialist contractors can move between up to three sites per week. Workers are restricted to attending only one site.

Regardless of the restriction level that applies, there are also common requirements that all workplaces, including those in the construction industry, must adhere to. These common requirements are mandatory across all workplaces under the public health directions. Please visit Industry Restriction Levels for construction for more information.

Carpooling restrictions, as mandated by the public health directions, will remain in place for the construction industry during the Second Step in metropolitan Melbourne.

Under the current restrictions, you are only permitted to share a vehicle with another person that you do not ordinarily reside with if you must leave home for work in a permitted industry, and there is no other reasonable or practical means of getting to work.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and the Industry Coordination Centre

The Business Victoria website and hotline provide information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.