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Melbourne construction restrictions come into effect

A Queensland company has been selected to redevelop a former heritage rail station into a mixed-use urban precinct.

New restrictions have come into effect for all Melbourne construction sites, requiring firms to have a high risk COVIDSafe Plan in place and allowing no more than one worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace.

The plan should be designed with input from employees and their representatives and must be regularly updated.

No carpooling will be allowed to and from work for any construction employee, supervisor or on-site specialist. If they share accomodation with another person working at a high-risk workplace, they will be required to inform their employer. Workers will also be required to limit movement between sites with enhanced PPE and hygiene measures if working between sites.

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Civil construction and all building and construction activities (whether public or private) will now be subject to the large scale, small scale and early state residential land development project tests and restrictions. This applies unless the activities constitute construction of critical and essential infrastructure or constitute critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency and safety.

Business Victoria has also updated the clarification of what is considered to be essential and critical infrastructure. Construction of this infrastructure is not subject to business operating reductions for the following reasons;

  • construction or maintenance (including civil works and building activities) of critical and essential infrastructure that is urgently required for the purposes of sustaining human health, safety and wellbeing, regardless of whether those activities are privately or publicly funded
  • activities prescribed by government from time to time as “State Critical Infrastructure Projects”
  • construction and maintenance for the purposes of national security and defence; and
  • activities that are deemed by Government to have satisfied the test in (a) and endorsed by the Chief Health Officer on a case by case basis.

The Business Victoria website states that the expectation is that very few activities will meet the above tests.

Specific restrictions for small scale construction sites include:

  • reduce the number of people on-site to five people plus a supervisor at any one time
  • limit movement of workers between different sites where possible, and only with appropriate guidance
  • supervisors can move between sites and specialist contractors can move between up to three sites per week, subject to enhanced COVIDSafe practices.

Large scale construction sites will be limited to:

  • a daily maximum of workers on site calculated as the higher of:
    – 25 per cent of their baseline workforce; and
    – 5 workers.

Early stage residential and land development sites will follow density restrictions of no more than 10 workers per hectare.

All workers count towards the applicable daily worker limit except workers dedicated to the oversight of COVIDSafe rules in the workplace.

See the Business Victoria website for further information on restrictions.

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