Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Latest updates

27 October 2020

The following services which must operate solely outdoors with up to 5 people (with an additional supervisor) where physical distancing can be maintained at all times, for businesses with an ABN:

  • Outdoor maintenance, repairs 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)

All businesses are required to have a COVIDSafe Plan for onsite operations.

Information about COVIDSafe Plans can be found here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-plan

Further information is available here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/business-industry-restrictions-by-industry-covid-19

Update on restrictions

18 October 2020

Summary of easing of restrictions at 11:59 pm on Sunday 18 October and Sunday 1 November.

Earlier updates

Updated coronavirus (COVID-19) industry guidelines now available

16 October 2020

Revision 8 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry (PDF, 2904.78 KB) have been released.

These Guidelines have been revised to incorporate the latest updates including any relevant new DHHS Directions and best practice.

It is important to read Revision 8 of the Industry Guidelines document in conjunction with applicable DHHS Directions and the Victorian Government Business Victoria Construction Sector Guidance.

Note that the Business Victoria links provide a comprehensive set of FAQ’s for the Construction Sector and Related Sectors and also provides a template for a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

Updated Frequently Asked Questions

29 September 2020

The Victorian Government has released four comprehensive sets of Q and A’s detailing restrictions under the Second Step for the Construction Sector.

New High Risk COVIDSafe Plan template

28 September 2020

The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions has released an updated High Risk COVIDSafe Plan template (PDF, 763.83 KB) for use by the construction industry.

The new template replaces the need for building and construction employers to have both a COVIDSafe Plan and a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan, and also integrates the guidelines that used to accompany those plans.

The High Risk COVIDSafe Plan has been developed to support construction businesses to reopen safely, maintain a COVIDSafe workplace, and prepare for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.

Melbourne moves to Second Step

27 September 2020

More information on restrictions under the Second Step for metropolitan Melbourne will be provided soon. Get the latest roadmap information at vic.gov.au/roadmap.

Third Step restrictions apply throughout regional Victoria

17 September 2020

From 11:59 pm Wednesday 16 September, regional Victoria moved to the Third Step on the roadmap to reopening.

For a full list of revised restrictions for regional Victoria, visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

You can view the roadmap to reopening for Regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria roadmaps announced

6 September 2020

The Victorian Government has released the coronavirus (COVID-19) reopening roadmaps for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, commencing Monday, 14 September.

Get the latest roadmap information for the construction industry on the Victorian Government Business Vic website.

Updated coronavirus (COVID-19) industry guidelines now available

21 August 2020

Revision 7 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry (PDF, 3083.44 KB) have been released.

These Guidelines have been revised to incorporate the new Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Directions for Stage 4 Restrictions across Metropolitan Melbourne and include links to full details of the Restrictions and Guidance.

It is important to read the Industry Guidelines document in conjunction with the DHHS Directions and the Victorian Government Business Vic Construction Sector Guidance.

Note that the Business Victoria link provides a comprehensive set of Q and A’s for the Construction Sector and Related Sectors.

Update on Stage 4 restrictions

17 August 2020

The construction sector will move to operating under pilot light levels until Sunday 13 September, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is currently working closely with the Victorian Government to clarify the new guidelines and what this means for practitioners and the industry.

We understand that this is a challenging time for the entire industry and our priority is to provide further information to ensure adherence to these new guidelines and the safety of workers.

If you have any specific questions regarding the impacts of Stage 4, please email your query to communications@vba.vic.gov.au and we will respond as soon as more information is available.

The VBA will provide a further update shortly via email to practitioners and industry groups, including a thorough set of FAQs. In the meantime, we refer you to the guidelines released by the Victorian Government (see below) and appreciate your understanding during this time.

Stage 4 restrictions – Construction industry

Open (for on-site work) – COVIDSafe Plan

Construction of critical and essential infrastructure and services to support these projects. Critical repairs to residential premises, are allowed, where required for emergency or safety.

Restricted operations or industry specific obligations

Large-scale construction

  • Any building construction project of more than 3 storeys (excluding basement)
  • Maximum of 25% of normal employees on site compared to normal operations
  • Must have a High Risk COVID Safe Plan.
  • Must demonstrate not blending shifts and workers can only work at one site during Stage 4.

Small-scale construction

  • Any building construction project of 3 storeys or less (excluding basement).
  • Maximum of five workers plus a supervisor at any one time.
  • Universal COVID Safe Plan.
  • 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 COVID Safe practices.
  • State and civil construction (including time critical new school builds) are exempt from reduction targets but will be required to implement a High Risk COVID Safe Plan.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

Building and non-building construction is a permitted industry; however, workers in these industries are still subject to additional restrictions. If you are a permitted worker, and have received a Permitted Worker Permit, you must follow the relevant guidelines issued by DHHS and Business Victoria.

Important restrictions to be aware of include:

  • You must follow the High Risk COVIDSafe plan in your workplace.
  • You cannot car-pool with other workers to and from work, or between sites (there are limited exceptions, for example if you are an apprentice).
  • You must inform your employer if you share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace  (there are limited exceptions, for example if you are an apprentice).
  • You must follow density restrictions and wear the required personal protective equipment (including a mask or face covering) at all times.

You must limit movement between multiple sites and observe enhanced PPE and hygiene measures if working between sites.

These measures include:

  • Provide and promote hand sanitiser stations at worksite entries and other locations, and ensure adequate supplies of hand soap and paper towels are available for staff.
  • Where possible, enhance airflow by opening windows and adjusting air conditioning.
  • In areas or workplaces where it is required, ensure all staff wear a face covering and/or required PPE, unless a lawful exception applies. Ensure adequate face coverings and PPE are available to staff that do not have their own.
  • Provide training to staff on  good hygiene practice and the correct use and disposal of face coverings and PPE.
  • Replace high-touch communal items with alternatives.

Small-scale constructions sites can only have five people plus a supervisor on-site at any one time.

You must limit movement between multiple sites. This is an important way we will drive down community transmission. If it is absolutely necessary (for example because you are a specialist trade), you are permitted to visit three work sites each week and must observe enhanced PPE and hygiene measures.

These 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

Workers that provide architecture, engineering, surveying, building inspection or compliance services or statutory functions must work from home where possible. Where these workers are required to attend sites for inspection and safety purposes, they are counted as workers. Workers in this category who need to move between sites should visit no more than three different sites a week, except where those visits are required to meet a minimum statutory obligation or requirement.

Specialists who install critical OHS equipment including scaffolding, safety rails, guardrails, stair void protection systems, other critical safety equipment/installations and those who conduct safety inspections and training talks are not limited to three sites per week.

You can only have a trade at your house to carry out emergency work or work required to make your house safe.

Tradespeople and builders can only visit your home for renovations if you have fully vacated the property and are not staying there during the period of Stage 4 restrictions.

If you have vacated the property, then renovations can proceed in line with restrictions on residential construction.

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

Understanding Stage 4 restrictions - Guides and resources

Department of Health and Human Services

VBA

Employer Associations and Unions

Business Victoria

Construction sector guidance

Sector guidance for construction business under Melbourne's Stage 4 restrictions.

Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services sector guidance

Sector guidance for electricity, gas, water and waste services under Melbourne's Stage 4 restrictions.

Administrative and Support Services sector guidance

Sector guidance for administrative and support services business under Melbourne's Stage 4 restrictions.

COVID Safe Plan

Information and resources to help your business prepare a COVID Safe Plan.

Permitted worker scheme

From 11:59 pm on Wednesday 5 August, employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees.

Business Support Package

Support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

Commercial tenancy relief scheme

A scheme to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mental health in business

Recognise the signs of stress and know what to do about it.

WorkSafe

Managing exposure.

Preventing exposure in your industry

Support for employees

Updated COVID-19 industry guidelines now available

29 July 2020

Revision 6 of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidelines for the Building and Construction Industry have been released.

This version incorporates new OHS regulations requiring employees and other contractors to immediately notify WorkSafe if they have tested positive to COVID-19.

R6 also clarifies when workers should be tested for COVID-19 if deemed a casual contact or experiencing symptoms themselves.

The guidelines also emphasise the importance of temperature testing on sites and provide further information on the $300 one-off payment to support Victorian workers while they self-isolate.

Face masks now compulsory for the building and plumbing industry

24 July 2020

  • If you live or work in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, you must wear a mask or face covering when travelling to and from sites and, most importantly, while you are on site.
  • If you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire and you need to travel outside of these areas, you must wear a face covering.
  • If you are travelling to metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire for a valid reason, you are also required to wear a mask or face covering.
  • If you live in other parts of Victoria, it is recommended you wear a face covering when you leave home and are in situations where it is difficult to maintain at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Find out more

Industry issues further revisions to COVID-19 Guidelines

24 July 2020

Revision 5.1 includes information on the mandatory wearing of face masks (section 3.8.1) and recent changes to the JobSeeker program (section 4.10.1).

R5.1 Guidelines: COVID-19 Guidelines for the Victorian Building and Construction Industry (PDF, 2239.9 KB)

Revised – Guidelines for the building and construction industry Victoria (R5)

15 July 2020

These industry-endorsed guidelines have been revised in line with the State Government’s announcements in relation to the wearing of face masks.

R5 Guidelines: COVID-19 Guidelines for the Victorian Building and Construction Industry (PDF, 1955.99 KB)

Enforcement of coronavirus (COVID-19) physical distancing requirements on construction sites

28 May 2020

The VBA will monitor and enforce physical distancing rules introduced as part of the nationwide response to coronavirus (COVID-19) through its audit and inspection programs. Read more.

Managing the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the construction industry

4 May 2020

WorkSafe Victoria have published useful resources on identifying and controlling COVID-19 risks on construction sites, screening, workplace mapping and physical distancing. Read more.

Combustible cladding inspections continue

28 April 2020

The Statewide Cladding Audit has resumed building inspections during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, with appropriate protective equipment and social distancing measures in place. Read more.

Guidelines for the building and construction industry (R3)

23 April 2020

These guidelines for the Victorian building and construction industry during COVID-19 have been adopted by Victorian building and construction unions and employer and industry associations and endorsed by the Building Industry Consultative Council.

Guidelines: COVID-19 Guidelines for the Victorian Building and Construction Industry (PDF, 1861.03 KB)
Poster: COVID-19 Behavioural controls and hygiene (PDF, 1012.96 KB)

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19

16 April 2020

The VBA has published a guide for contractors and trades required to work in buildings that may be occupied by people who either have a confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) or are self-isolating due to suspected exposure.

See: Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19: A guide for contractors and trades (PDF, 261.4 KB)

Maintaining health and safety on construction sites and other premises

31 March 2020Personal protective equipment must be worn at all times

Site inspections and media reports have confirmed that some construction sites have not implemented appropriate safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The VBA reminds building and plumbing industry professionals that they must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people working on site whenever possible. Social distancing will help save lives.

For more on practitioner safety and obligations and resources for managing health and safety on site, see: Maintaining health and safety on construction sites and other premises.

Stage 3 restrictions

30 March 2020

Stage 3 restrictions do not apply to the building sector and plumbing services. However, the Victorian Chief Health Officer's directions must be followed.

See: Best practice for managing construction sites in the coronavirus environment (PDF, 90.91 KB).

Construction industry best practice

29 March 2020

The Victorian Government has released a best practice for managing building and construction sites in the COVID-19 environment. This note provides guidance on reducing the spread of coronavirus within the construction industry. The industry is encouraged to review this guidance and implement appropriate measures on their construction sites. See: Best practice for managing construction sites in the coronavirus environment (PDF, 90.91 KB).

Statement from the Victorian Building Authority

23 March 2020

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has today received confirmation from the Victorian State Government that the stage one restrictions announced by the Premier do not apply to construction sites and plumbing services. However, the Victorian Chief Health Officer's social distancing and hygiene directions must be followed in these settings.

These include:

  • Ensure a distance of 1.5 metres is kept between yourself and others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick. If you take medication make sure you have enough.
  • Phone your doctor or the hotline – 1800 675 398 – if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits – exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60% alcohol.

As Victoria’s regulator of the state's vital building and plumbing industries, the VBA’s actions are focused on the safety of our community and the wellbeing of our people.

We are focused on business continuity as the COVID-19 situation evolves each day.

The Government's dedicated business hotline on 13 22 15 is also available for further information on how to keep your sites safe and open.