Construction sites throughout New South Wales will be able to operate on weekends and public holidays under new rules introduced by the New South Wales Government.

Issued by Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes on Wednesday, the Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 will override normal planning controls under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The order aims to facilitate social distancing requirements without impacting construction timeframes by allowing building work to be spread over more days of the work and therefore requiring fewer trades to be on site at any one time.

Stokes says the order will protect safety whilst supporting the industry during COVID-19.

“The construction and development sectors, which make up almost 10 per cent of NSW’s economy, will be vital in keeping people in jobs and keeping investment flowing over the coming weeks and months,” Stokes said.

“We’re doing what we can to support the industry in line with the current medical advice by extending weekday construction site operating hours to weekends and public holidays.

“The extended hours allow the industry to facilitate social distancing on construction sites, while minimising the potential for lost productivity during the pandemic.

“In NSW there are almost 400,000 people employed in the property and construction industry and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep each of them in work, but most importantly, to keep them safe and healthy.”

The new order will be in place until the COVID-19 pandemic is over or the advice of NSW Health changes.

Stokes says compliance will be monitored and reviewed if there are any adverse community or public health impacts.