NSW Update: Construction sites now allowed to operate on weekends and public holidays

Earlier today, the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces introduced a new planning and development order which the State Government hopes will bring some relief to the construction industry during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

In accordance with the Environment Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 (“the Order”), construction sites across the State will now be allowed to operate on weekends and public holidays provided that:

• the building or demolition works are the subject of a development consent;
• all works and operations comply with the conditions of the consent as if it were any other day; and
• all feasible and reasonable measures are taken to minimise noise.

The Order specifically excludes the carrying out of rock breaking, rock hammering, sheet piling, pile driving and other similar activities during the extended operating periods.

The new measures are a positive move towards boosting productivity in the industry, encouraging social distancing on worksites and helping to keep workers employed. According to the Minister’s media release, the Order will remain in effect until the pandemic is over or until NSW Health advice changes.

The Order comes following recent amendments to the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1976 (NSW) (“Act”), which allow the Minister to make orders authorising development without the need for approval, provided the Minister is reasonably satisfied that it is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of members of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Order can be accessed here.

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