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The Different Permits Construction Sites Need

April 24, 2024
Construction Site Permits

Safety is important in every industry, but it’s a life-or-death matter in the field of construction. Many people are injured or killed on construction sites every year in Australia, with falls from heights among the leading causes. A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is required for all high-risk construction work, which includes work that involves the disturbance of asbestos, the demolishing of load-bearing structures or the risk of a fall greater than two metres. In such a high-risk industry, another must-have requirement is permits. It should come as no surprise that you need more than one kind of permit to carry out construction work appropriately.  

As a person carrying out business or undertaking (PCBU), you have a duty of care to ensure your workers are not exposed to unnecessary health and safety risks. PCBUs need to have open consultations about workplace safety with employees, health and safety representatives, and committees.

Construction site permits help ensure your workplace meets acceptable safety standards and adheres to local regulations, quality standards, and environmental protections. However, it can feel overwhelming to even know where to start to find the right permits. Luckily, SSTC can draw on our decades of combined experience to make the process easier for you.

Here is our brief guide to the most common construction site permits you’ll need to carry out your business and how SSTC can help you acquire them.  

Why Are Permits Crucial For Construction Sites?

Permits are part of everyday life, both in a business and a personal sense. In New South Wales, they’re required for many activities, from busking to parking to working. A permit is simply an official document granting permission for an activity, and in NSW, local government authorities such as the City of Sydney are responsible for granting them.

Construction site permits are important for the following reasons:

They ensure safety and compliance

On a construction site, failing to follow proper safety procedures can lead to accidents, injuries and fatalities. Despite a decline in construction industry deaths over the past two decades, accidents remain far too common. Not only are the results often tragic, but the financial impact for the employer can’t be overstated either. Construction permits establish firm safety standards and require PCBUs to stick with them for the safety of their team and the public. Construction permits also have to comply with building codes and regulations to ensure they protect the accessibility, structural integrity and fire safety standards of structures.

They protect your business from legal ramifications

If you don’t acquire the necessary construction site permits in NSW, you’re likely to find yourself in trouble with the law even if no accidents occur. Authorities are able to impose fines and even put construction activities on hold, and you can even find yourself in a costly legal battle. Insurance companies can also deny coverage for damage or accidents if you work without the proper permits.

Establishing structure and guidelines

Construction site permits provide you with a strong framework and clear guidelines for undertaking your construction project. By following this plan, you can more effectively manage your resources and have the right people working when you need them. Permits can save you from all kinds of complications down the line, not just safety and financial ones.

The Essential Permits Needed

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So what are the permits you need to carry out construction work in NSW? While the exact permits you require depends on a lot of factors, here are some of the most common examples:

Development approval

Development approval involves getting permission to develop or build a property. To apply for this type of permit, you have to submit documents such as site plans, title deeds and proof of compliance with zoning regulations.

Building permit

Also known as a construction permit, a building permit guarantees that your project complies with local government regulations, safety regulations and the Australian Building Code. It’s vital to obtain a building permit before any construction work begins.

Traffic permits

If you’re carrying out construction work on or near a public road, it’s essential to contact the relevant road authority for traffic guidelines. To make sure your work doesn’t interfere with traffic and pedestrians, you’ll need a construction traffic management plan and traffic control plan. You may require a Swept Path Diagram, too.

Workplace health and safety permit

These permits certify that your site complies with workplace health and safety regulations in NSW.

Hot work permit

“Hot work” is any kind of work that produces a flame or ignition source, e.g. grinding or welding. Prior to undertaking this kind of work, it’s essential to implement a hot work permit system that identifies, removes or reduces the risk of flammable or combustible materials.

Working at heights permit

In construction, one wrong step can be disastrous. Even a fall from 2-4 metres can be fatal.  Employers are required to protect workers from the dangers of heights by providing measures like temporary work platforms and scaffolding. If there’s any danger that a worker could fall more than two metres, you need to complete a safe work method statement (SWMS) and seek a working at heights construction permit.

Roof access permit

A roof access permit reduces the risk of an unqualified person making their way onto your rooftop, reducing the risk of a fall.

Heavy vehicle access permit

If you operate heavy vehicles or vehicles carrying larger-than-average loads, you’ll need to apply for a heavy vehicle access permit—especially if you’re driving them on a public road.

Confined space permit

Construction sites often have confined spaces, many of which are poorly ventilated or put workers at risk of exposure to contaminants. As a PCBU, you need to organise a confined space permit clearly outlining the nature of the space, who can enter and when, and what kind of control measures are in place to manage the risks.

Environmental permits

Certain permits are required to address environmental concerns such as stormwater management and the protection of natural habitats.

Get Help with Your Construction Site Permits at SSTC

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If sourcing the right permits for work on your construction site sounds like more research and paperwork than you have time for, SSTC can make it a far easier task.

SSTC is trusted by some of the largest construction companies in Australia, and plans and permits are among our specialties. We can assess your situation and determine which permits you need for the safety of your workers, passing motorists and the general public. Then, we can help put plans in place that increase your project’s efficiency and safety so it can succeed.

Because managing traffic flow is such an important part of construction site safety, we provide construction traffic management plans (CTMP) and Traffic Control Plans (TCPs)to keep traffic running smoothly and safely past your site.
To us, safety is of paramount importance and we do whatever we can to help minimise risks. With SSTC, you can expect nothing less than the best. For help securing the right construction site permits, get in touch with SSTC for a free quote.

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