After a two-week COVID-19 shut down, Victoria’s construction industry reopens

On 5 October 2021, the two-week COVID-19 shutdown of Victorian construction ended. Construction sites can now reopen with various restrictions, including worksite number caps, provided all workers have had a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and the Principal Contractor has completed a COVIDSafe construction declaration form.

The current restrictions and the future easing of restrictions for Victorian construction projects are set in the Construction Sector Roadmap.

Authorised Officers from the Victorian Government’s Industry Engagement and Enforcement Operation will be conducting inspections of construction sites and construction businesses to ensure compliance with the restrictions. Authorised Officers will issue fines if non-compliances are identified and enforce construction site closures if there are persistent and serious breaches identified.

Therefore, to avoid potential fines and site closures, it is important to be aware of, and comply with, the current and future restrictions and requirements as the Victorian construction industry reopens. The key restrictions and requirements to know and understand are set out below.

Restrictions on worksite numbers

There are differing restrictions on worksite numbers depending on the scale and type of construction project. However, for all construction sites, workers must have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Construction sites on the Victorian Critical Infrastructure list can operate at 100% capacity provided that cribs rooms meet best standard practice (set out further below).

Large-scale construction sites are capped at 25% of the workforce. The cap can be increased to 50% of the workforce if all workers are fully vaccinated (i.e. two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine) and the crib rooms meet best practice standards.

Small-scale construction sites are capped at 5 people plus a supervisor and early-stage land development sites (greenfield sites) are capped at 20 workers per hectare.

Vaccine and other requirements for workers

Under the current restrictions, workers must:

  1. have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine;
  2. carry evidence of being fully vaccinated or having received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine;
  3. have a signed Authorised Worker Permit;
  4. declare they do not have any symptoms before starting each shift; and
  5. wear face masks at all times, except when eating or drinking or if another exception applies.

Only workers that have a permitted exception (a certificate from a medical practitioner that a person is unable to receive a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical symptom or condition) are able to work without a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Workers who have not received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or do not have a permitted exemption are not permitted on construction sites.

It is important to note that the mandatory vaccine requirement extends to all those who attend a construction site, including delivery drivers, and that for the purpose of the restrictions, a construction site includes a premise close to the location construction works are being carried out in which works related to the construction occur (such as an offsite site office).

Currently, fully vaccinated workers can travel between metropolitan Melbourne or an LGA under lockdown restrictions and regional Victoria to work. Workers on large-scale site or critical infrastructure who have only received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can travel in the same manner to work but must be tested:

  1. before crossing the boundary; and
  2. twice a week, with at least 72 hours between each test, until they receive a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

All workers must be fully vaccinated by 13 November 2021.

COVID Marshals

All construction sites must have at least one COVID Marshal who is responsible for ensuring compliance with onsite COVIDSafe requirements. Any worker can be a COVID Marshal if they complete the necessary training, which can be completed online.

For small-scale construction and early-stage land development sites, a COVID Marshal can be responsible for multiple construction sites and does not need to be on-site at all times.

For large-scale construction sites, a COVID Marshal must be on-site at all times.

Record Keeping

All construction sites must ensure QR code check-in is carried out.

Principal Contractors are to sight evidence of workers vaccination status and record the workers vaccination status, including who sighted the evidence and the nature of the evidence (e.g. vaccine booking confirmation, digital certificate or Australian Immunisation Register record).

Crib room requirements

Compliance with crib room ‘best practice standards’ is a condition of construction sites being open. Crib rooms must meet ‘best practice standards’ or be closed. Crib room best practice requires:

  1. where possible, workers are to have meals and other breaks outside;
  2. compliance with density limits of 1 person per 4m2;
  3. providing clear signage as to the number of workers allowed per room or per table;
  4. increasing natural ventilation by opening doors and windows (where this is not possible, fans and exhaust ducts are to be used); and
  5. the entire air volume is to be replaced or filtered every 10 to 12 minutes in a tea or meal room (if this is not possible, fans are to direct air to an open space and advice from engineering services or an occupational hygienist is required).

Future easing of restrictions

The Victorian Government has outlined that restrictions will be further eased when the Victorian population achieves certain vaccination milestones.

Once 70% of the Victorian population is fully vaccinated (estimated to be 26 October 2021), large-scale construction sites can have 100% of workers if all workers are fully vaccinated.

Once 80% of the Victorian population is fully vaccinated (estimated to be 5 November 2021), all workforce caps will be removed if all construction site workers are fully vaccinated and construction sites comply with COVIDSafe Plans.

*As a disclaimer, the content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Appropriate legal advice should be obtained in actual situations. Feel free to contact us should you require any assistance in resolving a legal dispute.


Key contacts:

Stephen Pyman – Director



Mitchell Thams – Associate


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