The Victorian Government has announced changes to construction industry settings. The changes will be made to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the industry, allowing people to keep working safely.

Effective from 11:59pm Friday, 17 September, all construction sites must:

Anyone who attends a construction site will need to have a first dose of COVID-19 vaccination by 11:59pm Thursday, 23 September. All construction workforce limits will remain unchanged.

Employers cannot allow construction workers to cross the border between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat unless an exception applies. This means an employer for a City of Ballarat construction site cannot allow a construction worker to cross elsewhere in regional Victoria.


Priority vaccination access

Construction workers can now access a priority vaccination booking by calling the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. Limited walk-in appointments are also available for construction workers. The following Vaccination centres are only offering walk-ins during specific times


1. Create and review your COVIDSafe Plan

All Victorian workplaces with on-site operations (including home-based businesses) must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Construction workplaces must have a Construction COVIDSafe Plan which is specifically tailored to construction businesses. The Construction COVIDSafe Plan supports your business to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and applies the Six principles of COVIDSafe workplaces.

You must regularly review your Construction COVIDSafe Plan to ensure it is current and reflects the latest advice.


2. Check capacity requirements

Understand density quotients and capacity limits about how many people can be in your workplace.


3. Use QR codes and keep business records

Employers must also keep records to show compliance with the Directions including all logs created during the time of directions being in place, work premises rosters, time and attendance records and payroll data. 

Victorian businesses must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service to check-in their workers, customers and visitors, with some limited exceptions.


4. Wear a face mask

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors by anyone aged 12 years and over, whenever you leave your home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.


5. Display signage

You must display signage at each public entry to indoor and outdoor spaces. This must show the capacity and face mask restrictions where required. 

Learn more about Signs, Posters and Templates for your workplace. You must also display Service Victoria QR Codes at every public entrance to indoor and outdoor spaces and at points of sale.


6. Maximise ventilation, keep spaces and equipment clean

Open windows and outside doors where possible to maximise ventilation. Reduce or eliminate recirculated air and increase the use of outdoor air where possible. Work with your building owner or manager to improve ventilation where possible.

Regularly clean shared and public spaces with disinfectant. Clean high-touch surfaces twice each day and clean shared equipment between uses.


7. Understand fines and enforcement

Ensure you comply with current restrictions and advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer. You may need to provide evidence of your compliance, including your COVIDSafe Plan, work premises rosters, time and attendance data, payroll data and other site attendance records. 

Victoria Police and Victorian Department of Health Authorised Officers regularly check to ensure compliance with current restrictions. 


8. Respond to a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case in the workplace

You must respond quickly to a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in your workplace. This will limit further exposure and reduce potential outbreaks.


9. Check Additional Industry Obligations

For FAQ’s of Additional Industry Obligations see below

Industry guide

Use this industry guide to make your workplace COVIDSafe. This information supports the relevant Public Health Directions in place throughout Victoria.

 From 11:59pm Friday, 17 September, all construction sites must:

have a COVID Marshal

  • have worker shift bubbles, including staggering the start, finish and break times, to reduce mixing of workers in different bubbles
  • prevent consumption of food and drink indoors except for water (and except for where there is a medical requirement to consume food or drink)
  • have additional restrictions to tea rooms.

Are COVID Marshals required on all construction sites? What about small-scale construction sites?

Yes. COVID Marshals are required on all construction sites including small-scale construction sites. On small-scale construction sites with a limited workforce capacity, a supervisor or manager can perform the role of COVID Marshal. There is no need to have a separate designated COVID Marshal.

 Can staff eat and drink indoors on construction sites?

No. From 11:59pm Friday, 17 September, food and drink (other than water) will no longer be permitted to be consumed in an indoor environment, except where there is a medical requirement to consume food or drink. This will reduce opportunities for COVID-19 transmission between workers where they are not wearing face coverings. Shared indoor spaces where workers eat and drink, such as staff rooms and tea rooms, have been identified as key areas where COVID-19 transmission is likely to have occurred. 

Where will the staff eat if we can’t eat indoors?

Workers should take their meal and rest breaks outdoors, as outdoor environments are better ventilated and have a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Outdoor breaks should be taken in a manner consistent with COVIDSafe principles, including practising social distancing. COVIDSafe plans should also provide plans on how outdoor spaces can be utilised for the purpose of consuming food and drink (e.g. for meals) for when there is inclement weather. 

Spaces such as tea rooms can continue to be used to prepare food and drink but masks may not be removed for eating and drinking and consumption must occur elsewhere.

These measures will enable construction to continue to operate optimally and protect worker safety.


Does the restriction on consuming food and drink indoors apply to all construction industry workers, including those based in construction site offices?

The restriction on consuming food and drink indoors (except water, and except for where there is a medical requirement to consume food or drink) applies to the construction sector statewide and covers anyone who attends a construction site including:

  • all construction workers
  • subcontractors
  • union officials
  • supervisors, managers and site safety personnel
  • WorkSafe, Victorian Building Authority (VBA) or others who attend for the purposes of Occupational Health and Safety, or other compliance and enforcement activities; and
  • building owners, delivery workers and suppliers who attend on site.

 The restriction is not intended to cover:

  • offsite construction industry office workers who do not work on construction sites.
  • transient workers such as delivery drivers (that do not need to leave their vehicle and step onsite) are not captured. 

Do indoor shared spaces and facilities where workers do not eat and drink, such as toilets, have to close?

No. Other shared facilities such as toilets do not need to close, however it is important to open windows and outside doors where possible to maximise ventilation. Reduce or eliminate recirculated air and increase the use of outdoor air where possible. The use of HEPA filters is highly recommended to improve air quality in poorly ventilated areas. Work with your building owner or manager to ensure adequate ventilation wherever possible.

Regularly clean shared and public spaces with disinfectant. Clean high touch surfaces twice each day and clean shared equipment between uses.


Travel Restrictions - FAQs

Can construction industry workers cross the boundary between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat for work?

No. From 11:59pm Friday, 17 September, construction workers who reside in regional Victoria cannot travel to metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat to work, and vice versa.

Operators of construction sites cannot allow any workers who live in metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat to work in a regional Victorian construction site. Similarly, operators of construction sites cannot allow any workers who live in regional Victoria (other than City of Ballarat) to work on a construction site in metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat.

If a construction industry worker who normally resides in metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat is in regional Victoria on Friday, 17 September for work, can they travel back home? If they are from metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat, can they travel to regional Victoria past that date?

Yes, construction workers may travel back home in this instance. However, once they cross the regional boundary to go home to metropolitan Melbourne or City of Ballarat, they will not be allowed to cross this boundary again to attend the regional worksite.

Workers may choose to make the region where their worksite is located their temporary place of residence to avoid this issue. For example, a worker who is in regional Victoria on Friday, 17 September but who normally resides in metropolitan Melbourne may choose to take up temporary accommodation in a hotel in regional Victoria until their work is complete.

Can construction industry workers travel more than 10 kilometres to attend a work site?

Yes. Construction workers with an authorised worker permit in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat are allowed to travel beyond their 10 kilometre radius limit for authorised work, so long as the worker does not cross the boundary into the rest of regional Victoria.

In regional Victoria (except for City of Ballarat), there is no limit on how far construction workers can travel.

Regional construction workers are not permitted to attend work sites in the City of Ballarat or metropolitan Melbourne.

Are State Critical Infrastructure Projects exempt from the travel restrictions between regional Victoria, metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat?

Yes. State Critical Infrastructure Projects are exempt from the travel restrictions. However, wherever possible, employers should minimise travel for their workforce across regional Victoria, metropolitan Melbourne and the City of Ballarat.

Do the travel restrictions between regional Victoria, metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat apply to critical and essential infrastructure projects (other than State Critical Infrastructure Projects)?

Yes, workers employed in critical and essential infrastructure projects that are not State Critical Infrastructure Projects must comply with the travel restrictions, and are therefore not permitted to cross the regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne/City of Ballarat boundary.  

However, these projects may seek exemption from the travel restriction from the Chief Health Officer using the exemption pathway via the Industry and Workplace Panel.

Is there an exception to the travel restrictions for safety reasons?

Yes, there is an exception to the travel restrictions for workers to attend a construction site to make the site safe for workers and the public, and to ensure the safety of assets and infrastructure. In all circumstances, the workers may only attend the site if workers cannot be sourced in a timely manner from within the same area. The workers may only stay on site for the minimum duration necessary to secure the safety of the site.

 Are supervisors, managers and site safety personnel exempt from the travel restrictions?

No. Supervisors, managers and site safety personnel are not exempt from the travel restrictions and may not travel outside of their areas except in limited circumstances.

Construction workers can travel to a work site across the regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne/City of Ballarat boundary if they are working on a State Critical Infrastructure project, or where there is a safety issue requiring timely assistance and workers cannot be sourced in a timely manner from within the same area.

Can construction workers travel between regional Victoria, metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat for work if that worksite is less than 10km from their home?

No. Construction workers must not travel between regional Victoria, metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat except if they are working on a State Critical Infrastructure Project,  or where there is a safety issue requiring timely assistance and workers cannot be sourced in a timely manner from within the same area.


Mandated Vaccinations - FAQs

What are the mandatory vaccination requirements for the construction industry and when do they start?

A construction site operator must ensure that all workers entering a construction site from Friday 24 September have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or has made a booking to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Saturday 2 October. All site operators must inform their workers that they will be requesting evidence of a worker’s COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday 24 September 2021. For more details on vaccines, visit
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/vaccine.

This obligation applies to the construction sector and covers anyone who attends a construction site including:

  • all construction workers
  • subcontractors
  • union officials
  • WorkSafe, Victorian Building Authority (VBA) or others who attend for the purposes of Occupational Health and Safety, or other compliance and enforcement activities; and
  • building owners and delivery workers who attend on site.
  • This obligation is not intended to cover:
  • offsite construction industry office workers who do not work on construction sites.
  • transient workers such as delivery drivers (that do not need to leave their vehicle and step onsite) are not captured. 

What if a worker has their first COVID-19 vaccination booked but is not yet vaccinated by 11:59pm on 23 September? Can they enter a construction site?

Yes. From Friday 24 September 2021, a worker who has their first COVID-19 vaccination booked before Saturday 2 October 2021 can enter a construction site.   

Unvaccinated workers who do not have a vaccination appointment booked in before Saturday 2 October 2021 will not be permitted to enter a construction site from Friday 24 September 2021. 

Who in the construction industry needs a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination?

The mandatory vaccination requirement applies to every person performing work at a construction site. This includes volunteers.

Construction industry workers who do not work onsite are not subject to mandatory vaccination requirements. For example, an office worker based 100 per cent of their time in head office does not need a mandatory vaccine, even though they may come into contact with construction workers who attend construction sites. Similarly, transient workers such as delivery drivers (that do not need to leave their vehicle and step onsite) are not captured.

What are the options for construction workers who have been unable to secure a COVID-19 vaccination booking?

Due to ongoing concerns around the spread of COVID-19 in the construction industry, the Victorian Government has announced a priority COVID-19 vaccination program and compliance blitz.

To increase vaccination coverage among construction workers, the four major vaccination centres listed below will open to walk-ins for construction workers without a booking, every day until Sunday 26 September:

  • Ford Campbellfield site – 8am – 11am; 5pm – 8pm.
  • Heidelberg Repat site – 8am – 11am; 5pm – 8pm.
  • Eagle Stadium in Wyndham – 8am – 11am; 5pm – 6pm., and
  • the former Bunnings in Melton – 8am – 11am; 5pm – 6pm.

Pfizer will be offered to attendees under the age of 60.

AstraZeneca walk-ups will be available for construction workers at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre each afternoon from 3pm until Sunday 26 September.

Vaccination appointments are also available by visiting portal.cvms.vic.gov.au or by phoning the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

What additional obligations are there for construction industry employers regarding mandatory vaccination requirements?

From Friday 24 September, each construction site operator must take all reasonable steps to ensure site workers have provided evidence of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or a booking for a vaccine appointment before Saturday 2 October, or evidence of an exemption from a medical practitioner. Anyone unable to do so should not be permitted entry to the construction site. This is a legal requirement under the Health Directions as endorsed by the Chief Health Officer in order to protect the health and safety of Victorians.

Learn more about construction industry record keeping obligations regarding mandatory vaccinations.

Employers who are not construction site operators should encourage their workforce to comply with the vaccination requirements but not are required to sight the evidence – that is the job of the construction site operator.


Exemptions and Exceptions - FAQs

What is a lawful exemption or exception to a worker receiving a mandatory vaccination and what evidence do they need to provide to employers, contractors or site operators?

A permitted reason for a worker to not receive a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine is when:

  • an exemption or exception applies to them; and
  • they have provided the operator of the work premises at which they perform or attend work with evidence from a specified medical practitioner certifying that an exception applies to them.

It is important to note that not all medical practitioners can grant exemptions. Medical practitioners that are authorised to grant exemptions include:

  • general practice registrar on an approved 3GA training placement; or
  • a public health physician; or
  • a general physician; or
  • an infectious disease physician; or
  • a clinical immunologist; or
  • a gynaecologist; or
  • an obstetrician; or
  • a general practitioner who is vocationally registered; or
  •  a general practitioner who is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP); or
  • a general practitioner who is a fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

Are construction workers on State Critical Infrastructure Projects excepted from the vaccination requirements?

No. Construction workers on State Critical Infrastructure Projects are subject to the same vaccination requirements as construction workers across the entire industry.

Is there an exception to the mandatory vaccination requirement where there is an emergency on a construction site?

Yes. There is an exception to the vaccine mandate for workers on a construction site to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to an emergency. This includes medical emergencies, emergency services workers attending for non-medical emergencies (for example, a fire) and to make the site safe for workers, the public, assets and infrastructure. Attendance on-site in this instance is strictly limited to the minimum number of people and duration necessary.


Request Vaccination Information from Workers - FAQs

What information is an operator of a construction site required to request, collect and store?

An operator of a construction site must request, collect and store information on the following matters by Friday 24 September:

  • whether the worker has received a full COVID-19 vaccination by 24 September
  • whether the worker has received a partial COVID-19 vaccination by 24 September
  • Whether the person has not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and has made a booking to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Saturday 2 October 2021
  • whether the worker has not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and has not made a booking to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 2 October
  • whether the worker cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine because they have an exception from a medical practitioner.

How can a worker provide this information?

There are currently two ways for a worker to prove their vaccination status:

  • If they have had both doses of a vaccine, the COVID-19 digital certificate is available from Services Australia and can be displayed on a mobile phone
  • If they have had one dose of a vaccine, they will not be able to show a digital certificate. Instead, they can show their Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) record which includes all immunisations, including the date and brand of COVID-19 vaccine the person has received.

If a worker has a booking for a COVID-19 vaccine they can show confirmation of the booking.

More information on how to prove vaccination status is available from Services Australia.

How is an operator of a construction site required to collect and store the information?

The construction site operator should sight evidence of the vaccination or booking status of each person entering the site. A construction site operator must keep a record to demonstrate its compliance.

  • A record may include the name of the worker, their vaccination status, who sighted evidence of compliance, the date the evidence was sighted, and/or the nature of that evidence (for example, AIR or medical exemption).
  • You do not need to retain the evidence you sighted. If you do retain the evidence you sighted, you will need to comply with both Federal (Privacy Act 1988) and Victorian (Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, Health Records Act 2001) legislation that regulates this type of health information.

What if an employee refuses to disclose their vaccination status?

While employers may request that employees disclose their vaccination status, the employee is free to decline to disclose. However, in this circumstance, the employee will be considered unvaccinated for the purposes entering the construction site. This means that the individual must be barred from entering the site as of Friday 24 September 2021. If the site operator has safety concerns arising out of a worker being turned away from a construction site, they do not need to enforce non-entry, but should contact site security or police for assistance.

Employers are encouraged to provide their employees with ample information to address employee privacy concerns, such as explaining:

  • how evidence is required from a legal and safety perspective,
  • that a copy of the evidence is not retained by the employer, or if retained, that it is retained in compliance with Federal and Victorian privacy legislation, and
  • the benefits available to employees from the voluntary provision of this information (enabling access to the site).

I am a construction worker. Will I need to get vaccinated in order to continue working?

Yes. From Friday 24 September, all construction workers in Victoria must be able to, as a minimum, provide evidence showing that they have:

  • received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • proof of vaccine appointment to receive a first dose by Saturday 2 October, or
  • an exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner.

How long do I have to get vaccinated?

All construction workers in Victoria must get at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Saturday 2 October 2021. Between 24 September and 2 October, to enter a construction site, all construction workers must be able to show they have at least made a booking for a first dose by 2 October, unless they have a proof of exemption by an authorised medical practitioner.

For more information see Mandated vaccinations.


Additional FAQs

Including definitions of:

  • Construction Workers and associated workers
  • Large and Small Scale Sites
  • Occupied and Unoccupied Premises

Can I work in metropolitan Melbourne and/or City of Ballarat if I reside in regional Victoria?

No. Construction workers residing in regional Victoria cannot work in metropolitan Melbourne and/or City of Ballarat unless you are working for a state critical infrastructure project or where there is an urgent safety issue requiring timely assistance.

The state critical infrastructure list includes major projects that will benefit all Victorians such as the Metro Tunnel Project and new Footscray Hospital.

The list is determined by a multi-department panel.


Can I work in regional Victoria if I reside in metropolitan Melbourne and/or City of Ballarat?

No. Construction workers residing in metropolitan Melbourne and/or City of Ballarat cannot work in regional Victoria unless you are working for a state critical infrastructure project or where there is an urgent safety issue requiring timely assistance.

The state critical infrastructure list includes major projects that will benefit all Victorians such as the Metro Tunnel Project and new Footscray Hospital.


Who is a construction worker?

A construction worker is anyone who attends a construction site including:

  • all construction workers
  • subcontractors
  • union officials
  • WorkSafe, Victorian Building Authority (VBA) or others who attend for the purposes of Occupational Health and Safety, or other compliance and enforcement activities; and
  • building owners
  • delivery workers who need to leave their vehicle and step onsite
  • visitors, including volunteers.

Permitted work in Metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat


Who is permitted to work onsite in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat?

Construction is considered authorised work under the Authorised provider and authorised worker list. This means that, subject to workforce limits and movement restrictions outlined below, any worker who is essential to a construction project is permitted to work onsite if their work cannot be done from home. This includes all trades and technical specialists associated with the construction project, including architects, engineers, auditors and building inspectors. 

Authorised workers are required to carry a valid Authorised provider and authorised worker permit when working, and when travelling to and from work.


Is landscaping and landscape architecture considered part of ‘construction’ for the purposes of the Authorised provider and authorised worker list?

Landscaping that is part of a construction project is included in the definition of construction. This includes workers engaged in constructing landscapes, landforming and the provision of retaining walls and paths, decks, fences and garden planting, where this work forms part of a construction project.

Residential landscaping at an occupied home is subject to different rules. See the section on occupied premises for more information. 


Are heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) service and maintenance providers permitted to operate under the authorised provider and authorised worker list?

Yes, HVAC service and maintenance providers are permitted to operate where their services are required to maintain human health, safety and wellbeing. This includes the repair, service and maintenance of HVAC systems.

They are also permitted to operate as part of construction projects.  


Can I obtain an authorised provider and authorised worker permit as an owner builder and travel to my property? 

Only workers who are on the Authorised provider and authorised worker list can obtain a worker permit. If you do not fall in this category, you are not eligible for a worker permit and cannot travel to the property, unless it is to complete a final inspection. 

If you are an owner builder and do not appear on the authorised provider and worker list, you must complete this work remotely including ensuring the work meets building regulations and arranging building inspections. Authorised providers and authorised workers can be engaged to carry out inspections and other required works.


My business is not permitted to open for on-site operations, but it supplies a business that is permitted to open under the authorised provider and authorised worker list. Can I open on-site to supply permitted businesses? 

Ancillary and support businesses are defined as those that are necessary for the operation of a permitted industry.   

These businesses can open on-site where necessary for the operations of an Authorised provider or authorised worker, or for Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. Examples include production, supply, manufacture, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services essential to the operation of the work of an authorised provider or authorised worker. 

The business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose.

Workforce limits and movement restrictions: metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat and regional Victoria


Do these workforce limits apply in regional Victoria?

Yes. Workforce limits apply in metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat and regional Victoria.


What workforce limits and worker movement restrictions apply to the construction sector?

The construction sector must adhere to workforce limits and worker movement restrictions. Density quotients and face mask rules also apply.

The limits and restrictions vary based on the type of construction site. There are three types of construction site:

  • large-scale construction sites
  • early-stage land development
  • small-scale construction sites.

The limits and restrictions for each type of site are outlined below, along with relevant definitions.

Certain exceptions apply to both workforce limits and worker movement restrictions. These exceptions are also outlined below. 

Large-scale construction sites – what are the workforce limits and movement restrictions?

For large-scale construction sites, the workforce limit is 25 per cent of the baseline workforce, or five workers, whichever is higher, unless an exception applies. The definition of ‘baseline workforce’ is provided below, along with information about exceptions

Employers at these sites must also limit movement of workers (including supervisors and onsite specialists) between worksites, except for:

  • specialist contractors, who can move between up to three sites a week
  • specialists who provide safety services
  • workers required to meet minimum statutory obligations or requirements (e.g., auditors, building inspectors or surveyors).

See Definitions for the definition of ‘specialist contractor’.


Early-stage land development sites – what are the workforce limits and movement restrictions?

For early-stage land development sites, the workforce limit is 10 workers per hectare at any one time, unless an exception applies. See Exceptions to workforce limits and worker movement restrictions for more information. 

Employers at these sites must also limit movement of workers (including supervisors) between worksites, except for:

  • specialist contractors, who can move between up to three sites a week
  • specialists who provide safety services
  • workers required to meet minimum statutory obligations or requirements (e.g., auditors, building inspectors or surveyors).

See Definitions for the definition of ‘specialist contractor’.


Small-scale construction sites – what are the workforce limits and movement restrictions?

For small-scale construction sites, the workforce limit is five workers at any one time (excluding the site supervisor), unless an exception applies.  See Exceptions to workforce limits and worker movement restrictions for more information.

Employers at these sites must also limit movement of workers between worksites, except for:

  • supervisors
  • specialist contractors, who can move between up to three sites a week,
  • specialists who provide safety services, and
  • workers required to meet minimum statutory obligations or requirements (e.g., auditors, building inspectors or surveyors).

See Definitions for the definition of ‘specialist contractor’.


Can additional workers come on site if there is an emergency? 

Yes, additional workers can come on site to complete critical repairs to any work premise where required for emergency and safety. 


Do the workforce limits and worker movement restrictions apply to council, Australian Government or university projects? 

Yes, workforce limits and worker movement restrictions apply to all construction projects, unless an exception applies. Specific restrictions are determined by site type, as outlined above. Information on exceptions is provided below


Do the workforce limits and worker movement restrictions apply to civil construction? 

Yes, workforce limits and worker movement restrictions apply to all construction projects, unless an exception applies. Specific requirements are determined by site type, as outlined above. Information on exceptions is provided below.


At large scale construction sites, can the selection of the 25 per cent of the workforce be changed day to day or week to week at the discretion of the Principal Contractor?

Yes. The principal contractor will determine which of the work will be prioritised to deliver its construction program, while ensuring the safety and security of the site.


If there are separate contracts/projects being carried out concurrently within the same building, are these treated as individual projects for the purposes of operating reductions?

No. All workers on a site count towards the daily worker limit, with the exception of workers undertaking emergency repairs and maintenance and workers engaged as suppliers and in deliveries (example, workers operating concrete trucks, concrete testers and the like who are only present onsite for a short period of time).


How does five-worker limit apply if a homeowner wants to attend the building site in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat?

Under the Stay at Home Directions, in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat, individuals are only allowed to leave their homes for five reasons. Visiting a building site is not one of them.

If a homeowner attends the site for work purposes they will be counted towards the number of workers on the site. Homeowners can only attend the site for work purposes if they are on the Authorised provider and authorised worker list. Authorised workers must carry a valid authorised provider and authorised worker permit when working, and when travelling for work.  

If the homeowner is seeking to conduct an inspection of the site this should be conducted remotely where possible. If the homeowner must attend the site to complete a final inspection, this should be done alone.


Does the limit of five workers for small-scale construction apply to base stage and finishing stage?

Yes, the five worker limit applies to all stages of a construction build.


Can apprentices still go to work sites in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat? 

Yes. Apprentices training with an authorised provider or authorised worker are permitted to go to work sites, provided they are carrying an Authorised provider and authorised worker permit. Authorised workers must carry a valid worker permit when working, and when travelling for work.


Can large-scale construction sites run two shifts at 25 per cent workforce each shift?

No. For large-scale construction sites, the total is 25 per cent of their baseline site workforce (or five workers, whichever is higher) on one day, regardless of shifts. If a builder wanted to manage the site with two equal non-overlapping shifts, each shift would be limited to 12.5 per cent of the average daily number of workers on site across the project lifecycle.


For large-scale construction, what are the applicable guidelines regarding defect rectification, final commissioning, tuning, and authority compliance?

Final commissioning, tuning, authority compliance and pre-handover are all considered to be construction activities on site, and must comply with the daily worker limit for large-scale construction. This is calculated as 25per cent of baseline site workforce (or five workers, whichever is higher). Because the baseline site workforce is calculated across the project life-cycle (from on-site mobilisation through to handover), the expectation is that the 25 per cent limit will provide capacity to accommodate the smaller number of workers (relative to the number of workers required on site per day during peak construction) that are required to be on site for final commissioning, tuning, authority compliance and pre-handover activities.

In metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat, defect rectification where it relates to critical repairs to the premises, are allowed, where required for emergency or safety under the Authorised provider and authorised worker list.


Are concrete truck drivers included as workers in the daily worker limits?

No. Concrete truck drivers who are present onsite for a short period of time are considered delivery drivers and do not count towards the daily worker limits.

If there is any interaction between drivers and workers onsite, drivers must check-in using the Service Victoria app. Drivers that provide contactless delivery are not required to check-in. For further information see About the free Victorian Government QR Code Service.

All roles that fall within the specialist contractor category must abide by the applicable restrictions.

Exceptions to workforce limits and worker movement restrictions


What exceptions apply to workforce limits in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat? 

Workforce limits do not apply to:

‘Critical and essential infrastructure projects’ are defined below. Some types of construction sites will need to apply to the Victorian Government to be considered critical and essential infrastructure projects, while others automatically qualify. 


What exceptions apply to workforce limits in regional Victoria? 

Workforce limits do not apply to construction sites for:

  • critical and essential infrastructure projects, or
  • critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency or safety.

‘Critical and essential infrastructure projects’ are defined below. Some types of construction sites will need to apply to the Victorian Government to be considered critical and essential infrastructure projects, while others automatically qualify. 

Definitions: metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat and regional Victoria


What is a ‘large-scale construction site’?

A construction site is considered large-scale where:

  • the planning permit is for a building greater than three storeys tall (excluding basement levels)
  • the site size is greater than 1,500 square metres (inclusive of all floors – see additional note below)
  • the premises under construction is predominantly for office use
  • the construction is for the internal fit-out of a retail premises
  • the premises under construction is predominantly for industrial or large-scale retail (‘large scale retail’ means retail that is greater than 2000 square metres in size)
  • a large-scale residential development (example, a retirement village) with a single entity responsible for construction, where the construction of dwellings has commenced
  • any industrial or commercial development where the construction of a building, warehouse or physical structure has commenced. 

In considering whether a site size is more than 1500 square metres, you need to take into account the site’s total floor area as opposed to the site’s footprint.

For example, if there is a three-storey building, with each level having a floor area of 1200 square metres, the total floor area will be calculated as 3600 square metres. This example would be categorised as a large-scale construction site under current restrictions.


Is work carried out on one level of a building greater than three storeys considered small or large-scale construction?

Any construction site that is “permitted to be (at completion) more than three storeys high (excluding basement)” is considered a large-scale construction site, regardless of how many storeys are being worked on at any one time.


What is an ‘early-stage land development site’?

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

This includes site remediation and site preparation works, construction of utilities and roads, bridges, stormwater/flood management works and trunk infrastructure. 

An early-stage land development site transitions to be either small or large-scale construction sites in the following ways:

  • For regular residential developments – once subdivision occurs, the construction of individual dwellings is regarded a small-scale construction project. 
  • For large-scale residential development (e.g., retirement village) with a single entity responsible for construction – once construction of dwellings commences, it is a large-scale construction.
  • For industrial or commercial development – once construction of a building, warehouse or physical structure commences, it is a large-scale construction site.

What is a ‘small-scale construction site’?

A small-scale construction site is:

  • an individual residential dwelling as part of a subdivided residential development
  • any other type of construction project not captured by the definition of ‘large-scale construction site’ or ‘early-stage land development’. 

How is a ‘baseline workforce’ calculated?

The baseline daily workforce for a large-scale construction site is calculated based on the daily average number of workers on-site across the project lifecycle as derived from the site’s resourcing plan as of 15 August 2021. 

For projects where no resourcing plan was available prior to 15 August 2021, the resource plan from the date of project commencement should be used to determine the baseline daily workforce.

The project lifecycle commences from the date of on-site mobilisation and ends at handover.

The resourcing plan for each site and the time period used to establish these levels are subject to audit and are required to be included as an attachment to your COVIDSafe Plan.


Who counts as a worker?

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

Workers do not include suppliers and deliveries (for example, concrete testers) who are only on-site for a short time.  


Who counts as a ‘specialist contractor’?

Specialist contractors are defined in the Workplace (Additional Industry Obligation) Directions, and include: 

  • Appliance installers
  • Asphalters
  • Brick layers
  • Cabinet installers
  • Carpenters
  • Carpet layers
  • Caulkers
  • Cladding installers
  • Concreters
  • Earthworks and drainage specialists
  • Electricians
  • Engineers
  • Floor installers
  • Floor layers
  • Flora and fauna specialists
  • Garage door installers
  • Gas contractors
  • Geotechnical specialists
  • Gold class riggers
  • Heritage and cultural heritage specialists
  • Insulation installers
  • Joiners
  • Landscape architects
  • Mechanics who install and repair plant
  • Mobile Cranes – Operators and dogmen
  • Painters
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers, including roof plumbers
  • Post Tensioners
  • Precast installers
  • Renderers
  • Retaining wall specialists
  • Security system installers
  • Sewer contractors
  • Shower screen/mirror installers
  • Solar installers
  • Sprinkler fitters
  • Steel fixers
  • Telecommunications installers
  • Termite specialists
  • Tile layers, including roof tilers
  • Traffic engineers
  • Vertical access riggers
  • Water proofers
  • Welders
  • Window and glass installers/glaziers.

GENERAL - FAQS

Can new construction contracts be signed and commenced in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat?

Yes, construction contracts can be signed and commenced due to construction being permitted under the Authorised provider and authorised worker list


Can builders attend prospective sites for the purposes of tendering forthcoming projects, where it cannot be done remotely in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat?

No, this is not permitted.


Can work continue at a construction site for the purpose of making the site safe for shutdown?

Yes, providing the work is undertaken in line with the Workplace Directions and Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions.


I have a project where the building surveyor has determined that protection of the adjoining property is required. Can we enter the adjoining allotment which is occupied by the adjoining owner to carry out protection works to allow proposed building work to commence?

No, this not permitted if the adjoining property is not vacant, unless the protection works relate to critical and essential infrastructure, or where critical repairs are required for emergency or safety.


I am an apprentice; I cannot get to and from work without carpooling with someone. Am I allowed to get a lift with someone?

Where possible other arrangements, such as getting driven to and from work by another household member, are preferable to carpooling. Under the current restrictions, you are not permitted to share a vehicle with another person you do not ordinarily reside with, unless it is not otherwise reasonably practical to get to work.

The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of COVID-19. If traveling in a car with someone who is not part of your household, you should sit in the back seat in order to maintain physical distancing, open car windows for ventilation, and wear a face mask.


Concreters’ are included in the list of specialist contractors. Does this include associated trades, such as site set-out specialists?

Yes, a reference to ‘concreters’ under the specialist contractors list includes associated trades, including site set-out specialists.


Who counts as a ‘specialist who provides safety services’?

This category of worker includes specialists who install critical Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) equipment, such as scaffolding, safety rails, guardrails, stair void protection systems, and other critical safety equipment/installations. It also includes traffic controllers, asbestos removalists, and those who conduct safety inspections (including fire safety services) and training talks.


What is ‘critical and essential infrastructure’?

There are three types of critical and essential infrastructure.

  • Critical and Essential Infrastructure Type 1 (health, safety, wellbeing)  

Construction or maintenance of critical and essential infrastructure that is urgently required for the purposes of sustaining human health, safety, and well-being. These projects can include civil works, building or construction activities, and can be privately or publicly funded. To fall into this category, a project must be deemed by the Victorian Government through a process that also involves endorsement by the Chief Health Officer (CHO). Projects are assessed on a case-by-case basis. The expectation is that very few activities will meet the criteria for approval. Project proponents can contact [email protected] to apply for a determination by the Chief Health Officer.

  • Critical and Essential Infrastructure Type 2 (State Critical Infrastructure)  

Activities deemed by the Victorian Government as State Critical Infrastructure projects. Projects are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and a list of State Critical Infrastructure projects is published below. The expectation is that very few activities will meet the criteria to appear on the list.

  • Critical and Essential Infrastructure Type 3 (national security and defence) 

Construction and maintenance for the purposes of national security and defence. Construction sites for projects in this category do not need to comply with the worker reduction limits in the Directions. 


Where is the list of State Critical Infrastructure?

See, State Critical Infrastructure List for copies of the Metro and Regional State Critical Infrastructure list. 

What is the definition of ‘outside’ for the purposes of construction, building and maintenance work?  

A work space is considered ‘outdoors’ if it is not fully enclosed. This means renovation work, such as a house extension, that occurs in a space without a roof or wall is considered to be outside. The ‘outdoor’ work space must be entirely separated from the occupied part of the house, so that workers and residents cannot access the same space (e.g., workers must not be able to enter the occupied areas of the house, even when residents are not present). 

Workers must avoid contact with residents of the building and must wear face masks indoors and outdoors, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.

Work at occupied premises in metropolitan Melbourne and City of Ballarat


When is an apartment considered ‘unoccupied’?  

An apartment is regarded as unoccupied only when all apartments in that building are empty. If any apartments have residents, all apartments in the building are considered to be occupied. 


Is a shed or granny flat considered ‘unoccupied’ if it does not have a tenant but shares a block with an occupied home? 

Yes, an unoccupied structure, such as a granny flat or a shed, is considered unoccupied even if it is on a property with occupied houses, if you can enter it without entering the occupied part of the property.


What building and non-essential maintenance work can occur in occupied premises? 

In occupied premises, certain work can continue only if: 

  • the service is provided by one worker (unless additional workers are required for safety reasons)
  • the work occurs outside, and
  • physical distancing can always be maintained. 

Under these conditions, only the following outdoor work can continue: 

  • maintenance, repairs, and cleaning (including garden, painting and pool maintenance) 
  • home installations 
  • home solar panel installations (if roof cavity access is required, it must have external access).

Essential maintenance is permitted indoors or outdoors whether the premises is occupied or not.

All workers must wear face masks indoors and outdoors, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies. 


Can essential maintenance continue in occupied premises? 

Maintenance work in homes or apartments where residents are staying can only continue where it is essential for the continued operation of:     

  • essential infrastructure and essential services that are required to maintain or protect human health, safety, and wellbeing (whether provided by a public or private undertaking), and including construction, maintenance, and repair of such infrastructure    
  • critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency or safety    
  • services to support ongoing provision and regulation of electricity, gas, water, sewage and waste and recycling services and their maintenance.  This includes services to ensure solar or battery supply at off-grid premises. 

Workers must avoid contact with residents of the building and must wear face masks indoors and outdoors, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.

What does ‘critical repairs for emergency or safety reasons’ mean?

‘Critical repairs for emergency or safety reasons’ are urgent repairs which must be undertaken to keep individuals within properties and work premises safe, to prevent individuals (including workers) from injury, to prevent property damage or damage to goods, or for urgent repair to an essential service. Urgent repair examples include:

  • burst water service
  • blocked or broken toilet system
  • serious roof leak
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • an essential service or appliance for hot water, water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundering is not working
  • the gas, electricity or water supply is not working
  • the property does not meet minimum rental standards
  • a safety-related device, such as a smoke alarm or pool fence, is not working
  • an appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working and causes a lot of water to be wasted
  • any fault or damage in the property that makes it unsafe or insecure, including pests, mould or damp caused by or related to the building structure
  • a serious problem with a lift or staircase. 

Can renovations proceed at occupied premises?

No, tradespeople and builders cannot visit homes for renovations but can provide repairs, maintenance, home installations and other building works if able to perform the work solo (unless additional workers are required for safety reasons) and only outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.

If you have vacated the property and it is completely unoccupied, then renovations can proceed in line with restrictions on small-scale construction.

If you’re still living at the property, then trades people and builders can only make emergency repairs indoors.


Can I carry out work at an occupied building to address a Notice or Order that has been issued by a Private Building Surveyor or Municipal Building Surveyor?

Yes, if the works constitute critical repairs required to address a safety or health risk to any person. Works can also be undertaken where safety or emergency services, installations or equipment have not been maintained in accordance with the occupancy permit. A physical barrier such as a separate room or temporary wall should be used where the occupant is not able to vacate the site whilst the works are completed.

COVIDSafe Plan must be in place for the site and all COVIDSafe practices should be followed, including physical distancing and good hand hygiene. Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.