On 22 August 2021, the New South Wales Government published its Construction Rules and Restrictions for occupiers and workers subject to lockdown orders. The rules and restrictions released provide some relief and transparency to an industry that has been subject to much controversy in the recent lockdowns.
At large, the update affects site capacity limits, worker vaccination requirements and ensuring the site has a COVID-19 safety plan. To contextualise who these updates affect, a construction site is defined as any place where:
work, including related excavation, is being carried out to erect, demolish, extend or alter a building structure; where civil works are being carried out; but does not include work in a home where people are living.
The release details specific rules for those construction sites within the Greater Sydney area, as well as those in rural and regional New South Wales. A construction site in the Greater Sydney area, is any and all of those Local Government Areas (LGAs), including:
*Note: These LGAs are considered "areas of concern" at the time of publication (and may be subject to change).
^Note: In the Penrith LGA, suburbs of concern at the time of publication are Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys.
Rules and Restrictions – Site Location
The rules, as they stand at date of publication are summarized by NSW Government as follows:
Greater Sydney Construction Sites
Workers in all areas, aside from those living or staying in the LGA of concern, are permitted to work on any construction site in the Greater Sydney area. Those workers residing in the LGAs of concern must comply with the COVID-19 vaccination requirements, referred to below, in order to work at any construction site in the Greater Sydney area:
- had 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine;
- had 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 21 days prior to the date of work;
- had 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within the past 21 days to the date of work, and have been tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours (3 days) of the date of work; or
- provided evidence of a medical exemption and have been tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours (3 days) of the date of work.
Rural and Regional Construction Sites
Workers in LGAs which are not "areas of concern" and any worker in rural and regional New South Wales can work at construction sites in rural and regional New South Wales.
For those workers in a Greater Sydney LGA (and not an "area of concern") seeking to work at a site more than 50km from the Greater Sydney extremities must have a COVID-19 test in the 7 days immediately prior to working and may be required to provide proof to their employer.
Workers in an "area of concern" must not, under any circumstances, work on a construction site in rural and regional New South Wales.
Rules and Restrictions – COVID-19 Planning and Response
The following rules apply to all construction sites unless otherwise specified:
Across the Greater Sydney area, construction sites must operate with the lesser of either 1 person per 4 square metres of space at the site, or 50% maximum daily workforce. The "maximum daily workforce" is calculated as the maximum number of workers who may be on site for any single day for the duration of the project.
In the case of rural and regional New South Wales, construction sites are permitted to have the greater of 1 person per 4 square metres of space at the site, or a maximum of 25 persons at the site.
All construction sites in the Greater Sydney area, including Central Coast and Shellharbour, must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
Workers must comply with face mask regulations as applicable.
Ongoing Developments in Rules and Restrictions
The rules around COVID19 responses are constantly changing so the best authority in circumstances of doubt is the NSW Government Website. We are committed to our local community and will continue to monitor the NSW Government updates to ensure our clients and referrers have the comfort and knowledge that they can call on Rostron Carlyle Rojas Lawyers for up-to-date application of the laws to their circumstances.