Update for the residential building industry - Greater Melbourne

17 August 2021

Yesterday HIA issued a Member Alert after the Victorian Government announced a two week extension to the lockdown for Greater Melbourne and reduced operations for the residential building industry.

Today, HIA has received further information that applies to:

  • External works on occupied homes
  • Limits to working on multiple unoccupied sites
  • Small scale construction – limited to five workers on site
  • Authorised worker permits
  • Early stage land development
  • Handover


External works on occupied homes

External building works such as landscaping and paintwork at occupied premises must return to a single authorised worker.

Where there is a health and safety risk, a supervisor may be permitted to attend the site.

Members are reminded that internal works on occupied homes are not permitted during the lockdown.

Limits to working on multiple unoccupied sites

Limits on specialist contractors working on multiple sites

A number of contractors that are involved in residential building work are limited to attending three construction sites per week.

There is an extensive list of trade contractors categorised as ‘specialist contractors’. Members should continue to monitor the list as it may be amended from time to time.

Below are some of the trades identified however a complete list is available on the Victorian government coronavirus website.

  • Waterproofing
  • Plumbing
  • Cabinet installers
  • Window and glass installers/glaziers
  • Plasterers 
  • Painters
  • Joiners
  • Carpenters
  • Concreters

If you are not on the list you are only permitted to work on one site per week. This may include building consultants.

It is still unclear at this stage if previous exceptions for workers before base stage and post fixing stage will be reintroduced.

HIA will advise members upon receiving further information from the Victorian Government.

Limits on others involved in residential building work attending multiple building sites

There is no limit on the number of sites that the following can attend:

  • Site supervisors can attend multiple construction sites provided it is reasonable and not practicable to have them work at one site.
  • Specialists who provide safety services.
  • Workers such as auditors, building inspectors and surveyors who need to meet minimum statutory obligations or requirements.

Small scale construction - limited to five workers on site

The number of workers on site must be minimised under the new restrictions. Small scale constructions sites (such as residential building sites) may have up to five workers on site and a supervisor at any one time unless it is essential to have more than five for a particular activity, such as a slab pour.

Authorised worker permits

Worker permits are now available on the Victorian Government website. All authorised workers must prepare a worker permit and have it certified by an employer before travelling to and from work.

Workers working on multiple sites must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance. This can easily be done by writing down the places attended on the permit or on a separate piece of paper.

All authorised workers including supervisors must ensure a log is maintained and provide this information to an authorised person such as a police officer if requested to do so. You are not permitted to just rely on the QR code site log to record attendance by an authorised worker.

Early stage land development

Undeveloped land that has not be subdivided may have up to 10 workers per hectare at any one time.

Upon subdivision of a residential building site, the site will become a small-scale (up to five workers) or a large scale (up to 25% of workers) construction site.


When determining whether you can carry out the handover of a completed property during the lockdown, members should consider whether the client’s current circumstances require that they move into the home. For example a client’s lease that is going to expire.

If that clients circumstances permit handover, then you may be permitted to carry out associated activities.

Ongoing obligations

Members should continue be vigilant and to:

  • Ensure your COVIDSafe plan is up to date and reflects reduced operations on site.
  • Ensure Authorised Workers are carrying a workers permit when travelling to and from work.
  • Maintain contact tracing record keeping requirements through the Victoria Service App where required.
  • Wear a facemask indoors and outdoors (unless an exception applies)
  • Ensure shared spaces are cleaned, including on building sites.
  • Check the exposure sites on the coronavirus website.

For further information please call us on 1300 650 620 Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm, or email us at vic_enquiry@hia.com.au.

© 2021 Housing Industry Association Limited (ABN 99 004 631 752) (HIA)

The information on this page has been prepared by the Housing Industry Association Limited, not HIA Insurance Services Pty Ltd (HIAIS). The views expressed are those of the Housing Industry Association Limited only and do not necessarily reflect those of HIAIS. This information is intended to provide general insurance related information only. HIAIS does not make any representation as to the accuracy of the information on this page and is unable to accept liability for any loss incurred by anyone who relies on it. The recipient of this information is responsible for their use of it.  

Scroll down for more content 
Featured News and Education
The Ultimate Guide to Insurance in the Construciton Industry

Breaking down the basics of insurance for the construction industry. Learn about the types of insurance to consider and why you might need them.

Read article
Benefits of using an insurance broker

Why use an insurance broker when purchasing your business insurance instead of buying straight from an insurer? The article explains the value that your broker can provide to you.

Read article
How this business went out of business from one customer

Learn about a builder who was forced to shut down their business due to a legal claim being brought against them and how they could have managed this risk. 

Read article