Yesterday (April 2,2020), the Environment Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 came into effect. The Order allows for building work and demolition work to be carried out on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, provided that the development is approved through development consent and continues to comply with all other conditions of the development consent. Further any work that is performed on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday must:
- comply with the conditions of consent that restrict hours of work on any other day as if the condition applied to work on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday;
- not involve the carrying out of rock breaking, rock hammering, sheet piling or similar activities during the weekend and public holiday work hours; and
- all feasible and reasonable measures are taken to minimise noise.
So what does this mean for the construction industry? Where a project is subject to development consent conditions that restrict the days of working to Monday to Friday, the Order allows for the approved working hours in the development consent to apply to weekends and public holidays. The purpose of this Order is to allow for construction sites to implement social distancing measures which may require smaller workforces on site but prevent or minimise loss of productivity by allowing works to be carried out on more days.
As a result, construction programs may need to be reconfigured to balance the slower rate of progressing the works due to social distancing and/or team splitting, any EOTs claimed and the greater number of days that can be worked.
The Order may also result in contractors and subcontractors being able to make a claim in relation to a change in legislative requirements under their contracts. This may result in entitlements for time or cost relief arising from complying with the Order and other government orders made in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you need advice as to how this order affects your contractual obligations or are negotiating a contract, please contact us. We are committed to providing the highest quality of legal services at competitive prices to help you and your business get through these challenging times.