Alert Level 4 for building and construction

Last updated: 1 September 2021

Shopping trolley with parcels on a computer keyboard

The information on this page is based on the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 11) 2021 effective from 11:59pm 7 September 2021. Alert Levels and Public Health Orders may be updated by the Government at any time.

Building, construction and maintenance services may be able to operate during COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions if they meet the Government criteria of Alert Level 4 businesses and services.

Find out what work is deemed an Alert Level 4 business and service in the building, construction and maintenance sector.

For general information relating to COVID-19, please visit the New Zealand Government's COVID-19 website

Non-urgent work must wait

If your work does not meet the criteria or you’re unsure if it does, you should defer the work to when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. New Zealand needs to restrict movement and human contact as much possible to slow the spread of the virus, including staying 2m apart from others. It is the responsibility of all businesses in New Zealand to check whether they meet the criteria for operating at Alert Level 4.

Covid-19 Alert Level 4 building, construction and maintenance businesses and services definition

Building, construction and maintenance work can only be completed if it meets the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 businesses and services criteria.

The Government defines Alert Level 4 businesses and services in the building, construction and maintenance sector as:

  • any entity involved in building, construction or maintenance related to nationally important infrastructure that that enables or supports supply chains that are needed for one or both of the following:
    • to provide for the current needs of people and communities
    • to enable or support the immediate recovery of the whole or any part of New Zealand from the effects of COVID-19
  • any entity involved in any work required to address immediate health or safety risks
  • any person undertaking any necessary work in any premises to maintain the condition or value of, or clean, the premises, or any plant, equipment, or goods in the premises
  • any entity with statutory responsibilities or that is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the purposes stated above
  • businesses and services that have been authorised by MBIE to manufacture and distribute building products for residential construction for the following specified building products:
    • coated roofing steel
    • plasterboard and gypsum plaster
    • cavity insulation.

This means your business may be able to operate if it provides one of these services.

Nationally important infrastructure

To operate your business during COVID-19 Alert Level 4 you must meet the Government definition, which is:

  • any entity involved in building, construction or maintenance related to nationally important infrastructure that that enables or supports supply chains that are needed for one or both of the following:
    • to provide for the current needs of people and communities
    • to enable or support the immediate recovery of the whole or any part of New Zealand from the effects of COVID-19

The intent of this permissible activity is to allow genuinely urgent work to proceed.

Any work that can be delayed, should be delayed, to minimise the risk of person to person transmission of COVID-19. 

You should consider, in good faith and in the interests of Aotearoa New Zealand, whether:

  • the building work or the infrastructure is necessary for the supply chain?
  • there are any time sensitivities around the operation of the supply chain?
  • doing the work now would have a meaningful impact on the ability of the supply chain to effectively support COVID-19 recovery?
  • the work is genuinely urgent for the supply chain?

Examples:

Work on the construction of a purpose-built distribution centre for the COVID-19 vaccine would demonstrate the time-sensitivities in supporting COVID-19 recovery. This is likely to be a permissible activity.

A major roading project, due to be completed in two years’ time (although important for national infrastructure development) would not demonstrate time-sensitivity in supporting COVID-19 recovery. This is unlikely to be a permissible activity.

Essential maintenance work to an existing supermarket demonstrates the time-sensitivities and ensures supply chains are providing for the current needs of people and communities. This is likely to be a permissible activity.

Work on construction of a new supermarket, hospital wing or prison due to be completed next year would not demonstrate time-sensitivity in supporting COVID-19 recovery. This is unlikely to be a permissible activity.

Deciding whether a building, construction or maintenance business and service meets Covid-19 Alert Level 4 criteria

To decide whether the service you are planning to provide, or need to have carried out is a Covid-19 Alert Level 4 building, construction and maintenance business and service, you should apply the definition above.

The responsibility is on the person carrying out the building, construction or maintenance work to ensure that the work they are completing meets the definition.

Questions to ask yourself

To help you identify work that meets the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 building, construction and maintenance business and service definition, ask yourself the following questions:

1a) Is the work required to address immediate risks to health and safety? And/or

1b) Is the work required for nationally important infrastructure? And

1c) Does the infrastructure enable or support supply chains that are needed to provide for the current needs of people and communities, or enable or support the immediate recovery of the whole or any part of New Zealand from the effects of COVID-19? Or

1d) Is the work required to undertake statutory responsibilities for building and resource consenting that is necessary to enable the building, construction, and maintenance services for the purposes stated above?

2) Is the work you are performing the bare minimum required to meet the criteria above?

If your work meets this criteria it may be permitted, however it is important to assess your specific situation and satisfy yourself that the criteria in the Government definition of Alert Level 4 Building, construction and maintenance business and service has been met.

Examples of work that meets Covid-19 Alert Level 4 criteria

The information below outlines some examples of permissible and non-permissible work for the building, construction and maintenance sector during COVID Alert Level 4. 

Plumbing

Examples of essential work: 

  • The repair or replacement of a failed hot water cylinder required for sanitation purposes.
  • The unblocking and repair or replacement of sanitary waste or water supply pipes.

Non-essential work: 

  • Replacing tap washers.
  • Replacement of sanitary fixtures that are working.  

Electrical work 

Examples of essential work: 

  • The repair or replacement of electrical installations or equipment that provide heating and hot water.  
  • The repair or replacement of security alarms.

Non-essential work: 

  • Routine servicing of non-essential equipment or infrastructure 
  • Providing electrical connections for household dishwashers, sound systems.

Fire service technicians

Examples of essential work: 

  • Remediating a defect for a fire alarm or sprinkler in an occupied building. 
  • Responding to a request from FENZ to attend a system during an emergency call out.

Non-essential work: 

  • Testing fire alarm systems in an unoccupied building.

Building work   

Examples of essential work: 

  • Securing a structure to prevent collapse e.g. placing supports under structural beams tying beams in. Tying down a roof where there is significant risk of uplift.
  • Repairing damage to a building that prevents the occupants from having a dry warm environment.

Non-essential work: 

  • Installing interior linings. 
  • Pouring a concrete slab. 
  • Roof or cladding maintenance to prevent leaks. 

General repairs

Examples of essential work: 

  • The repair of building elements that effect the security of a building such as broken windows, external doors, window frames.

Non-essential work: 

  • Painting or plastering.

Security 

Examples of essential work: 

  • Work to ensure building site security so buildings are safe and secure.

Purchasing trade materials

Examples of essential work: 

  • Purchasing materials from retailers and suppliers during this time, providing you are a tradesperson and can prove you are carrying out work allowed under Alert level 4

Non-essential work: 

  • Purchasing items for personal use

Specified Systems

Examples of essential work: 

  • Work to ensure specified systems remain operational if they are necessary to maintain health and safety and to continue the operation of nationally important infrastructure or to address immediate risks to health and safety

Travel in or out of Alert Level 4

Business or work travel across the boundary is strictly limited to manage the risk of the virus spreading.

Business travel for building and construction

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: