COVID-19 guidelines for the construction sector (Australia)

Many Australians are feeling anxious, as COVID-19 numbers rise across the nation.

In some parts of the country, construction workers are required to navigate new rules based on their location. There are penalties for those who don’t comply. 

It can be confusing to keep track of regulations that are constantly shifting to contain the spread!

This guide summarises the main guidelines for construction workers in each state and territory. 

At the time of writing this article, three regions are in lockdown: New South Wales, Victoria and ACT.

We’ve put together a basic guide, but please regularly check official government websites for the most current information, as this situation is rapidly evolving and may have changed when you read this.

Please note: your business may be eligible for a disaster payment from the Federal government, if you haven’t been able to work due to public health orders. 

We also include information about localised support in each section below.


New South Wales (NSW)

Status: lockdown

Construction work is allowed to continue on building sites in:

Rules for construction sites in Greater Sydney:

There are also health exemptions, due to disability, physical or mental illness. However, a medical certificate or statutory declaration is needed as proof.

Rules for construction sites in regional and rural NSW (now includes Central Coast and Shellharbour):

Additional rules for construction sites in hotspot areas:

Work may continue at construction sites in local government areas of concern, as long as certain conditions are met.

Construction workers who live in hotspot areas must receive a COVID-19 vaccination before leaving their LGA for work. 

The rules come into place from the 19th of September 2021.

On top of this…

Permits from Service NSW are required from the 28th of August for authorised construction workers who:

This permit shows the individual is an authorised worker who cannot work from home, it lasts until 30 September. After that, it needs to be renewed online. And if your reasons for travel change, you need a new permit. 

Other requirements:

What about home renovations, repairs and maintenance?

Greater Sydney:

Construction workers who are living or staying in Greater Sydney may work on occupied residences. Workers from regional NSW may also do renovation and maintenance jobs in Greater Sydney.


Rural and regional areas:

The government website states that prescribed work is allowed to commence or continue until Sunday the 10th of August. 

Workers from Greater Sydney or regional and rural NSW can do the work. Workers from Greater Sydney may need to register for travel if working more than 50km outside Greater Sydney. 

The same face mask rules and capacity limits apply as Greater Sydney.

Workers from the hotspot areas in Sydney cannot work in rural or regional areas.

Hotspot areas in Greater Sydney:

Only necessary prescribed work is permitted for indoor areas.

There’s a bit more flexibility for outdoor areas (the work doesn’t need to be essential), but there can be no more than five workers at the same time.

Construction workers from hotspot areas cannot travel outside their LGA for residential work.

However, workers who live outside of hotspot areas may travel to residences in hotspot areas.

Read more about NSW construction requirements here

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.


Status: lockdown

All construction sites in Victoria were hit with restrictions from the 21st of August.

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Status: lockdown

Most construction projects were required to stop, when the ACT went into lockdown on the 12th of August. 

There were some exceptions:

The ACT government has worked with the construction sector to find a way to ease restrictions from the 3rd of September.  It’s planning to do this gradually, starting with government projects, civl construction projects, large scale projects, urgent construction activities and more. 

Please read this document carefully to understand what the staged reopening means for your business, if you work in the ACT. 

More information for the ACT construction sector can be found here.

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.

Queensland (QLD)

Queenslanders are currently facing stage three restrictions. People in the 11 impacted South East Queensland areas must also wear masks. 

Construction workers in these impacted areas should wear a mask if they cannot physically distance, unless it’s unsafe to wear a mask.

There are few restrictions for the QLD construction sector, but a common-sense approach is required. It’s a good idea to limit interactions while working – whether on a building site or at a residential property.

Businesses that have been impacted by recent lockdowns can apply for grants of up to $30,000

Other useful resources for Queensland construction businesses.

Northern Territory (NT)

Lockdown restrictions recently lifted in the Northern Territory, but all businesses and individuals are required to use the check-in app.

Every business must also complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan and submit it online. 

Managers need to review this every six months, to make sure they’re complying with government regulations.

NT businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.

South Australia (SA)

At the moment, there are level one restrictions in South Australia. 

Face masks are required in high-risk settings and for shared indoor public spaces.

However, this doesn’t apply to authorised workers who cannot perform their jobs properly while wearing a mask. 

Master Builders SA provides key updates for the construction sector. 

SA businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.

Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia is in a state of emergency, however there are few general restrictions.

When it comes to the construction sector, workers should maintain a safe physical distance of at least 1.5 metres when practical.

If possible, limit the number of workers on-site and split shifts into AM and PM.

Read more about safety measures that construction businesses can take.

WA businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.


There are no active COVID cases in Tasmania, but the government is preparing a lockdown plan in case the need arises in the future.

In the event of a lockdown, construction and civil construction projects wouldn’t be permitted to continue. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as emergency situations.

Tasmanian businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply for support here.

03/09/2021 blog, Blog classic Todd Mason