Frequently Asked Questions – What you need to know about the construction re-opening

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Via Master Builders Association

  • Blacktown
  • Campbelltown
  • Canterbury-Bankstown
  • Cumberland, Fairfield
  • Georges River
  • Liverpool
  • Parramatta
  • Penrith for the following suburbs: Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair and St Marys.

Construction workers from these LGAs will be able to attend construction sites as authorised workers if they meet minimum vaccination conditions.

All construction sites in Greater Sydney must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. The plan was developed by the NSW Government in consultation with industry and the unions. It is also recommended for all construction sites in NSW.

Work in residential occupied dwellings in Greater Sydney is only permitted outside of the LGAs of concern, unless necessary, and is limited to two workers on site for indoor works and five workers for outside works. There must be no contact between workers and occupants. More information is available at nsw.gov.au.

From Wednesday 11 August 2021, all construction sites can operate in Greater Sydney, including in the LGAs of concern, capped at the lesser of:


  • 1 person per 4 square metres, or
  • 50% of the maximum daily workforce on the construction site.


A resident of an LGAs of concern must meet vaccination conditions to work on a construction site.


A construction site is a place at which work, including related excavation, is being carried out to erect, demolish, extend or alter a building or structure, or at which civil works are being carried out, but not work carried out in relation to a dwelling in which a person is residing


Read full details or all new rules here.

No. The restrictions on work on occupied building sites within these areas remain in place. However, urgent works can still continue to be undertaken.


Even if you live in one of the LGAs of concern,  you cannot work at an occupied renovation site in these areas.

Yes, under the Public Health Order all construction sites in Greater Sydney must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan, completed by the principal contractor. A copy of the plan must be available for inspection on site.


These plans will be enforced through SafeWork NSW who conduct regular site inspections. Non-compliance can result in fines and other action, including the exclusion of workers from site.


The plan is available to be filled in as a web form on the NSW Government website.


Master Builders NSW has provided a completed 'sample' COVID-19 Safety Plan for members to review.

From 11 August 2021, construction sites that are permitted to operate in Greater Sydney can have the lesser of:


  • 1 person per 4 square metres of space at the construction site; or
  • 50% of the maximum daily workforce.


The maximum daily workforce is the maximum number of workers on site on any day from the start to the end of the project.


How to calculate 50% of the maximum daily workforce:


  1. Calculate the normal daily number of workers that would be on site over the full length of the project based on your current resourcing plan.
  2. Estimate the day when the site will have the maximum amount of trades and construction workers.
  3. Take that number of workers and halve to get 50% of maximum daily workforce.


The current resourcing plan is the one that applied to the construction site on 31 July 2021 or, if there was no plan on that date, the resourcing plan that applies on the day on which work commences on the construction site.


Construction sites in regional and rural NSW (including affected areas of regional and rural NSW) can have the greater of either 1 person per 4m2 at the site or a maximum of 25 persons at the site at any one time.

The legal obligation on occupiers of premises is:


  • to develop and comply with a COVID safety plan that addresses the matters required by the approved COVID Safety checklist
  • to keep a copy of the COVID Safety Plan on the premises and make it available for inspection by an authorised officer or police officer as requested.


Businesses develop a COVID Safety Plan by completing each of the actions in the checklist on nsw.gov.au and receive a copy of the Plan as a PDF when they complete the checklist. Businesses must ensure that every site has a copy of a plan that is specific to that particular site.

Works in residential premises can resume from 31 July outside of the identified LGAs, but there must be no contact between workers and occupiers. There will be a limit of 2 workers for indoor services and 5 workers for outdoor services. No contact means:


  • All transactions must be electronic.
  • Residents must not be in the part of premises where works will take place for at least 15 minutes prior to works and for 15 minutes after departure.
    • For outdoor works, residents must not enter the outdoor area where works take place.
    • For indoor works, residents must move to an outdoor area or to another building on the property or to an indoor area that is physically separated by a non-permeable barrier. If this is not possible, they must leave the home for a permitted reason (such as exercise).
    • Where works proceed over more than one working day, the area of work must be marked as an exclusion zone and not entered for the duration of works.
  • Service providers must not use amenities used by residents.
  • No greeting service providers at the door – arrival and departure must also be contactless.


An unoccupied home where works are underway is considered a construction site and a COVID-19 Safety Plan for Construction Sites in Greater Sydney is required. 

There are no limits on the number of building workers allowed on a construction site for buildings two storeys and over. However under the restrictions a premises (meaning building site) is allowed to have a density of 1 person per 4m2 rule or 25 persons, whichever is the greater.


Also, from Wednesday 11th August 2021, unoccupied sites are limited to 50 percent of the total number of workers that the site is expected to have at its workforce peak.


These sites must be managed in accordance with the COVID-19 safety plan as completed by the builder or principal contractor for the specific site. 


Larger building sites are permitted to have multiple trade teams working at the same time. Controls must be put in place to ensure that those teams remain segregated from each other while on site, do not come into contact with each other on their way in or out of the site and that all other required COVID safety measures are met.

Construction workers from affected LGAs are now considered authorised workers, which enables them to work on construction sites subject to vaccination conditions.

Based on data from a recent Master Builders NSW survey, this means up to $30 billion in construction projects can restart from today, albeit at a reduced capacity.


  • This means construction workers from the eight affected LGAs of concern can work on unoccupied sites within their LGA or leave their LGA for work, but they must meet vaccination conditions.
  • The Public Health Order only allows the workers to leave for the purposes of work. That means when they are not working, all stay at home restrictions still apply.
  • Workers from the affected LGAs who do not meet the vaccination conditions may not attend a construction site for work, including a construction site in the LGA of their residence.
  • Workers outside the affected LGAs may travel into the LGAs for work and are not subject to vaccination requirements.

Yes, work within these LGAs is now permitted. Workers from outside the LGAs of concern do not need to meet vaccination conditions, but are encouraged to get vaccinated. 

Yes, workers involved in the manufacture of building supplies to support construction have been listed as authorised workers and are permitted to leave their LGA for work, subject to meeting any relevant NSW Health testing requirements.

Yes, if the work cannot be completed at home and the person is not from an identified LGA. Please note that employers must require employees to work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so. These restrictions are enforceable.

Workers from Greater Sydney can travel to a location outside of Greater Sydney provided the work cannot be done at home and they are not from an identified LGA. Workers from Greater Sydney who are working 50km or more outside of Greater Sydney must have a COVID-19 test in the 7 days before entering that workplace. Site managers can ask for proof of testing and residence. Please note, workers who live in Greater Sydney and travel outside of this area for work must still comply with the Public Health Order and only undertake work duties.

As part of their COVID-19 Safety Plans, all construction sites must have protocols in place to respond to a positive case on site.

Carpooling to and from work is not permitted unless among members of the same household.

Yes, masks must be worn by workers both indoors and outdoors in Greater Sydney and it should be a fitted face covering over both their nose and mouth. Workers may remove a mask in certain circumstances, including:


  • when eating or drinking
  • if the nature of the person's work:(i) makes the wearing of a fitted face covering a risk to the person's, or another person's health and safety, or (ii) means clear enunciation or visibility of the person's mouth is essential
  • because of an emergency
  • when communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • if asked to remove their mask to ascertain their identity.


NOTE: The requirement to wear a mask does not apply to a person with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or a disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable.

The government is currently working with industry to investigate the feasibility of rapid antigen testing on worksites.

From Wednesday 11 August, construction workers will be listed as authorised workers, meaning residents from these LGAs can attend a construction site in Greater Sydney if they meet the following vaccination conditions:


  • has had 2 does of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • has had 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 21 days ago, or
  • has had 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine within the preceding 21 days and have been tested for COVID-19 within the preceding 72 hours, or
  • has a certified medical contraindication and has been tested for COVID-19 within the preceding 72 hours.


In addition to the above testing requirements they must also carry the following evidence:


  • proof of residence
  • evidence from the Australian Immunisation Register of their immunisation status as to whether they have had 1 or 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • evidence that they have been tested for COVID-19
  • a certificate in the prescribed form stating any medical contraindications.

Employers who engage front line and emergency workers can require their workers to get vaccinated.


Constuction workers are not considered front line workers and employers cannot mandate that they are vaccinated.


However, these workers can be encouraged to be vaccinated through communication and education strategies. Employers can also consider giving employees paid time off to get vaccinated.

Is everyone allowed back on site at once from 31 July? 
Construction sites will need to operate differently with segregation measures in place so that contact between sites and teams is minimised. For some sites, this may mean less workers on site.


Why are construction sites and homes being treated differently? 
The priority is to prevent people coming into contact with each other. This is something that can done on unoccupied worksites through mandating physical distancing and the segregation of work teams. This is not as easily addressed in homes so the caps on workers has been introduced, in addition to the requirement that there is no contact between occupiers and workers.


Can I access my site before July 31?
From Thursday 29 July 2021, some preparatory work is permitted on construction sites, including:

  • checking or maintaining installations or equipment
  • cleaning, waste removal or waste management
  • stocktaking or restocking
  • delivery of materials or equipment
  • servicing or installation of amenities
  • relocation on the construction site of plant or equipment
  • issuing permits or certificates
  • establishing arrangements or procedures to help protect persons from COVID-19
  • erecting fencing or hoarding
  • inspections, including for technical reasons, or safety, including work, health and safety, or for valuations or other financial reasons
  • removing water
  • connecting power, fuel or services
  • safety work, including work related to fire safety or electrical safety
  • surveying or marking out
  • fire safety related works
  • electrical safety related works
  • training required to be carried out on the construction site.


Can fire protection officers attend work if they are from one of the identified LGAs?
Workers involved in fire protection and safety are included in the authorised worker list.


What is being done to ensure construction materials can still be manufactured in the identified LGAs? 
Manufacturing businesses for construction can still operate within these LGAs.

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