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COVID-19 restrictions for early stage residential land development and large scale construction in Victoria

Victorian Government has introduced a number of restrictions that apply to early stage residential land development and large-scale construction work.

The Victorian Government has introduced a number of restrictions on residential building sites due to the current COVID-19 lockdown across Victoria. 

The complete details regarding the restrictions are continually being updated. This information sheet provides details based on the current publicly available information as they impact the residential construction industry.

What residential building work is permitted in Victoria? 

Building and construction is classified as “authorised work” and therefore residential building work is allowed to continue throughout Victoria despite any stay at home (lockdown) requirements. 

This information sheets sets out the restriction that apply to the following types of construction work are permitted:

  • Early stage residential land development
  • Large-scale construction work

Internal renovation work is not currently permitted at an occupied home. 

Outdoor work at an occupied home is permitted but must meet certain restrictions subject to whether the site is located in metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria.

New construction projects can commence as long as the current restrictions are complied with.

Different restrictions apply to small-scale construction work, including renovations on unoccupied properties and there are a number of requirements that must be complied with on all construction sites across Victoria.

Early Stage Residential Land Development Site

What is an early stage residential land development site?

An early stage residential land development site comprises all civil works undertaken on open air, large greenfield sites that are associated with and preparatory to construction of multiple individual residential dwellings 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). 

Once subdivision occurs, the construction of that dwelling on that part of the site is regarded as a small scale construction site. 

For large scale residential development (e.g. retirement village) with a single entity responsible for construction, once the construction of dwellings have commenced, it will be considered large scale construction, this includes an industrial or commercial development.

How many workers can I have on an early stage residential land development site?

No more than 20 workers per hectare.

Large Scale Construction Site

What is a large-scale construction site?

A large-scale construction site is one that:

  • A planning permit has been issued for a building that is greater than three storeys, or
  • Is more than 1,500m2, floor size (inclusive of all floors); or
  • Is any office or retail fit-out; or
  • Is an industrial, large format or retail use.

How many workers can I have on a large-scale construction site?

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

  • 25 per cent of the baseline site workforce (calculated below); or
  • 5 workers plus a supervisor

All workers count towards the applicable daily worker limit including the COVID Marshal who is responsible for overseeing COVIDSafe functions in the workplace.

To calculate the 25 percent determine your baseline workforce.

Your baseline workforce is the average daily number of personnel on site across the project lifecycle, based on the project’s written resourcing plan as of 15 August 2021. 

The resourcing plan and calculation are subject to audit.

Project lifecycle commences from the date of onsite mobilisation and ends at handover. 

Who do the restrictions apply to?

The current restrictions apply to employees, employer and workers, including site supervisors and inspectors.

Who is considered an ‘employee’?

An employee is employed by an employer and includes a person who is self-employed.

Who is considered an ‘employer’?

An employer means a person who owns, operated or controls a construction site and includes a person who is self-employed or a sole trader.

Who is considered a ‘worker’?

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

Are there any restrictions on ‘workers’? 

Yes. All Workers are:

  • prohibited from car-pooling to and from work, unless it is not reasonable or practical to do so or the individuals reside at the same property,
  • required to limit movement between multiple construction sites. 

Deliveries to site

Can I still take deliveries of products and materials onsite?

Yes.  The suppliers should only remain on site for as long as is reasonably necessary to deliver the products and materials.

Delivery workers must also comply with the vaccination requirements.

Am I limited to 5 workers including delivery persons?

No. Drivers and suppliers who deliver to site for a short period of time then leave are not included in the 5 worker rule. 

I currently have traffic control around my site, are they included in the maximum of 5 workers?

No, if they are not coming on the construction site, they will not be counted towards the maximum of 5 workers onsite.  It is important that they minimise any contact with workers onsite.

Waste removal

Can I access waste transfer stations to remove trade waste from construction projects? 

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

Under the current 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.

Further information

While the recent shutdown of construction sites affected metropolitan Melbourne and some regional areas, the rules from 5 October 2021 for construction sites across Victoria are the same for both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

Further information for businesses regarding the current restrictions and how they apply to construction work is available on the Victorian Government’s construction reopening plan and is outlined in the following HIA information sheets:

To find out more, contact HIA's Workplace Services team

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