News & Views

20th July 2021

Updated Construction FAQs

Can building and construction projects continue?

Building and construction projects can continue if the premises is a new build or unoccupied. From 11:59 pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021, new separate rules apply for occupied premises (see below).
The definition of building and construction project includes:

  • service and maintenance essential to support the construction project
  • building inspections by building inspectors that are essential to the construction project
  • painting in a new build or unoccupied premises
  • pool installation at a new build or unoccupied premises
  • home renovations in unoccupied premises.

Site inspections by clients are not permitted. 

What construction, building and maintenance work can occur at occupied premises?

From 11:59 pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021, certain work in occupied premises can continue if:

  • the service provider has an ABN
  • the service is provided by five or less people, plus a supervisor
  • the work occurs outside
  • physical distancing can always be maintained.

Under these conditions, the following outdoor work can continue:

  • maintenance, repairs, cleaning and other building work (including painting and pool maintenance)
  • home renovations and installations
  • home solar panel installations (if roof cavity access is required, it must have external access)
  • landscaping and gardening (maximum of five people working, including supervisor).

Essential maintenance is permitted indoors or outdoors whether the premises is occupied or not (see FAQ on essential maintenance).
All workers must wear face masks indoors and outdoors, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.

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 work occurring outside. The ‘outdoor’ work space must be entirely separated from the occupied part of the house, such 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.

What is essential maintenance?

Essential maintenance is work that is essential to:  

  • maintain or protect human health, safety, and wellbeing at essential infrastructure and essential services (public or private), including construction, maintenance, and repairs 
  • conduct critical repairs to any premises, where required for emergency or safety 
  • 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.

Is an apartment considered ‘unoccupied’ when other apartments in the block are occupied? 

No, an unoccupied apartment is considered occupied if other apartments in the building are occupied. 

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

Yes, from 11:59 pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021, 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 it shares a block with.

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.

Is construction allowed to continue during the lockdown?  

Yes, construction can continue during the lockdown for unoccupied premises and new builds.  This includes anyone essential to the construction project – including architects, draftspersons, engineers, building surveyors and inspectors and other consultants - who cannot perform their work from home.

Essential repairs and maintenance at an occupied property are permitted (as defined below). Strict health measures are required, and workers must wear face masks and have no contact with residents. 

Is service and maintenance permitted in the construction industry? 

Yes, all aspects of construction are permitted to operate for unoccupied premises and new builds. For answers about occupied premises, see below.  

Can construction and renovations continue at occupied premises? 

Construction and renovations, including pool installation, painting, and landscaping, must not proceed at occupied premises.  

Emergency repairs and maintenance are permitted, however workers must wear face masks and have no contact with residents. 

Is painting allowed to continue? 

Painting is permitted: 

  • as part of a new build, or  
  • as a standalone project on an existing property where there are no residents. 

If the premises are occupied, painting should not proceed.  

Essential repairs and maintenance at an occupied property are permitted (as defined below). Strict health measures are required, and workers must wear face masks and have no contact with residents. 

In what circumstances can landscaping and garden maintenance continue?  

Landscaping works may continue where they are occurring: 

  • as part of a new build, or  
  • as a standalone project on an existing property where there are no residents. 

Landscaping works are not permitted at occupied properties. 

Essential repairs and maintenance at an occupied property are permitted (as defined below). Strict health measures are required, and workers must wear face masks and have no contact with residents. 

In what circumstances can swimming pool construction continue? 

Swimming pool construction at unoccupied homes is considered a form of construction and is permitted. This includes projects that had not begun at the start of the lockdown.  

What is essential maintenance? Can essential maintenance continue in homes where residents are staying? 

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 (public or private), 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 always wear a face mask and have no contact with residents. 

Are display homes and suites allowed to open? 

No, display homes must not open.  

Can building inspections continue if they are necessary for a building or construction project to continue? 

If a building inspection is critical to the building or construction project, it is considered a part of the construction and may occur.  

Can solar installation continue under the current restrictions? 

Solar installations on occupied homes are not considered construction and must cease under current restrictions unless they are required to maintain or protect human health, safety, and wellbeing.  Solar installations as part of construction projects may continue (ie at unoccupied properties).  

Urgent maintenance or repairs to ensure electrical or gas supply can continue, including for off-grid premises supplied by solar power or batteries. 

Is an apartment considered ‘unoccupied’ when other apartments in the block are occupied?

No, an unoccupied apartment is considered occupied if other apartments in the building are occupied.

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

No, an unoccupied structure, such as a granny flat or a shed, is considered occupied if it is on a property with occupied houses.

Can building inspections occur?

Building inspections can proceed if:

  • they are conducted by building inspectors, and
  • are essential to the construction project.
  • Site inspections by clients are not permitted. 

Services that operate solely outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained at all times. Permitted for up to five people (with an additional supervisor) for businesses with an ABN:  

  • Outdoor maintenance, repairs, cleaning and other building work, including at occupied premises.  
  • Home renovations and installations (outdoor only)   
  • Home solar panel installations (only for outdoor work or in roof cavities with external access).
  • Please see the updated authorised work/workers list here