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Top 5 Questions about COVID & Residential Sites

Top 5 Questions about COVID & Residential Sites

Hardware & General continues to support trades during this difficult time with free delivery, contactless delivery, contactless ordering and pick-up, virtual showroom appointments for clients and by sharing factual information to help you navigate the challenges before us.

In this article, provided by our partners HIA , we offer answers to the top 5 commonly asked questions the HIA office is receiving from builders and trades.

Unfortunately, the Public Health Orders (or rules) about construction sites are complex and can be difficult to navigate. As they receive updates from the relevant Government departments HIA will continue to release information for members.

Are masks mandatory outdoors on construction sites?

Yes. The Public Health Order requires that masks be worn both indoors and outdoors on construction sites. The only exception is when it is not safe to do so due to the need to wear other personal protective equipment or if the medical exemptions apply.

An indoor area includes a building or other structure, whether or not temporary, which has a roof, ceiling or other top covering, but does not include an area with at least 2 sides open to the weather.

NSW Health has a range of posters available that members can download including a sign for masks on construction sites (indoors).

The Australian Government also has a range of posters that can be downloaded for free. In Greater Sydney construction sites should display the ‘masks are mandatory’ sign.

Are large construction sites permitted to be open?


Yes. All construction sites are permitted to operate in Greater Sydney unless they are located within the eight restricted local government areas.

What rules apply to large construction sites, including residential building work over two storeys?


Large construction sites are required to prepare a COVID-19 safety plan for construction sites.

For building projects over two storeys, the nature of a larger project means the COVID-19 control measures need to be site specific. Within a COVID safety plan, the builder/principal contractor must agree to comply with the density limit for indoor areas of 1 person per 4m2 and a range of other COVID safety measures set out in the plan.

The NSW Public Health Orders do not expressly mention a ‘one trade at any time’ requirement – when does the ‘one trade at any time’ rule apply?


The Public Health Orders for gathering restrictions require all construction sites permitted to operate in Greater Sydney to have a COVID-19 safety plan for construction sites.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan for construction sites template includes a requirement that “on construction sites, renovation and additions on unoccupied residential buildings two storeys and under” builders need to “limit the trades on-site to one at any time”.

On this basis, only residential building projects which involve one or two storey dwellings must apply the ‘one trade at any time’ rule.

There is a specific exemption in the COVID-19 Safety Plan for construction sites which states that: “These restrictions do not apply to roles that involve inherently short and contactless visits to sites, such as supervisors, certifiers and professional services such as engineers and surveyors, delivery drivers and specialist installers working on their own.”

When does the five sites per week cap for tradespersons apply?


The COVID-19 Safety Plan for construction sites template includes a requirement that “on construction sites, renovation and additions on unoccupied residential buildings two storeys and under” builders need to “cap the number of sites visited by tradespersons in any week to five sites.”

On this basis, only residential building projects which involve one or two storey dwellings must apply the ‘five sites per week’ cap.

There is also a specific exemption in the COVID-19 Safety Plan for construction sites which states that:

“These restrictions do not apply to roles that involve inherently short and contactless visits to sites, such as supervisors, certifiers and professional services such as engineers and surveyors, delivery drivers and specialist installers working on their own.”

All information in this article, researched and written by HIA and accurate as of Thursday, 5th August, 2021 4:00pm

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