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Site facilities for residential building work

In South Australia, this information provides advice on the requirements under the Work Health & Safety Act 2012 – specifically Regulation 41, which outlines the requirements to provide and maintain adequate and accessible facilities.

HIA is often asked about  what facilities must be provided on site, recognising that there is a difference between commercial and industrial sites compared to residential sites.

This information clarifies the requirements for Class 1, 2 and 10 residential buildings (under the Building Code of Australia), including multi-residential buildings up to and including three storeys in height. Buildings above three storeys are not covered by this information. 

What does the WHS Regulation require? 

Regulation 41 of the Work Health & Safety Regulation states: 

41 – Duty to provide and maintain adequate and accessible facilities 

(1)  A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the provision of adequate facilities for workers, including toilets, drinking water, washing facilities and eating facilities. 

(2)  The person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the facilities provided under subregulation (1) are maintained so as to be: 

  • in good working order, and 
  • clean, safe and accessible. 

Considerations for choosing appropriate facilities

When determining what facilities are required on site the PCBU is required to take into account the following: 

  • The nature of the work being carried out at the workplace 
  • The nature of the hazards at the workplace 
  • The size, location and nature of the workplace 
  • The number and composition of the workers at the workplace. 

The PCBU should also consider the following matters when planning what facilities to provide: 

  • The safe and convenient location of facilities 
  • Positioning and construction of facilities to prevent external flooding 
  • Clear access to facilities at all times 
  • Hygienic and safe discharge of waste water 
  • Clean and sanitary facilities 
  • Adequate natural and/or artificial lighting for safe access and use of facilities. 

Enclosed facilities should be weatherproof and of sound construction, with adequate ventilation and lighting. 

What are adequate and accessible facilities?

Meal and shelter facilities
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During the initial stages of construction, but only until an adequate area can be made available, shelter may be provided in the form of contractors’ vehicles. 

At the earliest opportunity once construction has commenced, the builder should then provide hygienic and weatherproof meal and shelter facilities in an area accessible to the building under construction – for example, in a garage or similar covered area. 

These facilities should include adequate seating (which could include a board across two trestles and other alternatives to chairs) and a clean surface upon which to place food, which could include an esky provided by the worker or subcontractor or other material owned or controlled by the relevant subcontractor, a rubbish bin with a lid or appropriate alternative(s) for the hygienic disposal of food scraps. 

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Workers must have access to conveniently located toilet facilities. Where the toilet is not connected to the sewerage system, self-contained fresh water flushing portable toilets should be provided that are regularly serviced in accordance with the supplier’s information and instructions, but not less than monthly. 

To provide an acceptable standard of hygiene and privacy, the toilet must be: 

  • kept clean 
  • weatherproof 
  • well-lit and well ventilated, either naturally or artificially 
  • provided with a hinged seat and lid 
  • provided with a door that can be locked from inside 
  • provided with a well-drained floor above ground level that is covered with a durable waterproof material 
  • provided with a plentiful supply of toilet paper 
  • set up to remain level and stable under all working conditions. 

Toilets may be shared between sites if: 

  • the sites are under the control of the same builder or there is clear agreement between the builders 
  • the toilets are convenient and readily accessible to the workers on each site 
  • there is at least one toilet per 15 male workers or one toilet per 10 female workers. 

However, one unisex toilet may be provided in workplaces with both male and female workers where: 

  • the total number of people who normally work at the workplace is 10 or fewer 
  • there are two or fewer workers of one gender. 

Where female workers are present on site, appropriate measures for sanitary item disposal should be made, such as a disposal unit provided in the portable toilet or sewer-connected toilet closet. 

Washing facilities
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Hand washing facilities within or adjacent to each toilet or urinal should be provided. Clean water and soap should be provided for the purposes of washing. 
Drinking water
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A readily accessible and plentiful supply of drinking water must be available to all workers on the site. 

The site water tapping, complete with hose bib-tap, should be installed at the earliest opportunity. 

Where a mains water supply connection is not possible, drinking water may be provided using flasks, labelled water containers, water bags or similar. However, mains water supply should be provided at the earliest possible time. 

Drinking water facilities must be separated from toilet facilities to ensure adequate hygiene. 

To find out more, contact HIA’s Building Services team.

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