Business travel for building and construction

Last updated: 20 September 2021

shutterstock 529150321

Travel into, or out of, Alert Level 3 is restricted to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 across New Zealand.

Please note: the permitted reasons for travelling across the Alert Level 3 and 2 boundary are the same as for the Alert Level 4 and 2 boundary.

Businesses must take steps to minimise travel of workers between alert level areas wherever possible.

People needing to complete urgent building, construction and maintenance work may be permitted to cross into, or out of the Alert Level 3 area if they meet certain criteria.

Find out what business travel is permitted in the building, construction and maintenance sector.

General information relating to COVID-19 - covid19.govt.nz

Apply for a Business Travel Document or Business Travel Exemption - business.govt.nz

Travel documents for building, construction and maintenance businesses or services

Business or work travel across the Alert Level 3 boundary is strictly limited to help reduce the risk of the Covid-19 spreading across New Zealand.

Businesses or services carrying out a permitted activity listed in the Alert Level Order are already allowed to cross the boundary provided you have evidence that your activity is permitted. Getting the business travel document will make the process of crossing a boundary much quicker and easier.

There are two main reasons that you can be granted a business travel document in the building and construction area:

  • Your business or service can operate at Alert Level 3 and meets the criteria for permitted travel under Schedule 5 of the Public Health Order.
  • You meet the grounds for an exemption from the conditions of the Public Health Order.

Before applying, consideration must first be given to whether there is workforce in the area you are travelling to, and whether you can draw upon that workforce to avoid unnecessary travel across an alert level boundary, to help minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

If this is not possible, you must consider restricting the number of staff needed for alert level boundary travel and the number of times travel across the boundary is required.

All applications are being assessed against the criteria for travel in the Alert Level Order for building, construction and maintenance businesses, projects or work.

If your business does not meet the criteria for travel, please do not apply. This will ensure that MBIE is able to process timely documents for those businesses who need them for workers to undertake permitted activities.

Our staff processing the Business Travel Request applications need detailed information about each travel request so they can assess the need for travel against Alert Level Order and the risk of the virus being spread across the country.

Anybody travelling over the Alert Level 3 boundary will be required to have evidence of a test taken within the seven days before crossing the boundary.

Testing for workers who travel across Alert Level boundaries - health.govt.nz

How to apply for permitted travel

Businesses may be able to travel into, or out of, Alert Level 3 to complete building, construction or maintenance work if the reason for the travel meets the threshold for essential work under the terms of the Alert Level Order.

There are four permitted travel categories for which you can apply for travel documents. These categories are aligned to the Government definitions for essential work under the terms of the Alert Level Order.

The categories in the Business Travel register (Alert Level 3 criteria) are:

  • nationally important infrastructure that enables or supports supply chains to provide for the current needs of people and communities
  • nationally important infrastructure that that enables or supports 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 entity with statutory responsibilities or that is involved in building and resource consenting necessary for the purposes of the other categories.

Alert Level 3 for building and construction

You should only apply for Business Travel into, or out of an Alert Level 3 area if the work you intend to complete is for one of these reasons.

Information required to apply for a business travel document for permitted travel

To help us process Business Travel requests quickly, you should provide detailed information about the reason for travel.

This information should include (but is not limited to):

  • How do you consider that you meet the permitted travel categories / Alert Level 3 criteria?
  • What is the job, contract or client you are working for?
  • Where is the work site in relation to the alert level boundary?
  • Who are the workers, what is their role and how are they linked to the work?
  • Why must these specific workers be involved and when are they involved?
  • Why can this work not be delayed?
  • Why can this work not be completed by someone who does not need to cross into, or out of Alert Level 3?

You will also need to provide information about how many trips each employee will need to make, the dates when they will be making these trips and any consideration given to minimising the number of trips required, for example the workers remaining in the lower alert level area until the works are complete.

Providing this supporting information in your Business Travel application form will assist your application to be processed promptly.

To help us to process your application quickly, you can complete the Supporting information for Covid-19 Business Travel application form.

The completed form can be saved to your computer and then attached to your application in the Business Connect portal.

One form should be completed for each staff member named in the application.

How to apply for an exemption from the Public Health Order

If you do not meet the criteria for permitted travel, you may be able to travel into, or out of an Alert Level 3 area to complete building, construction or maintenance work if you gain an exemption from the Alert Level Order. Exemptions are only granted in exceptional circumstances and require the permission of the Director-General of Health.

The exemption category in the Business Travel register is "Exemption request for critical or essential building and construction services"

This category is aligned to the exemption criteria terms of the Alert Level Order.

When considering applications for an exemption request, MBIE must consider:

  • whether the travel is reasonably necessary, including whether it could reasonably be delayed
  • the economic, social, or health benefits associated with the purpose of the travel
  • the public health risk associated with the travel and its purpose.

These exemption requests are initially reviewed by MBIE, and then must be approved by the Director General of Health.

Information required to seek an exemption for business travel

Information required to seek an exemption for business travel should include (but is not limited to):

  • How do you consider that you meet the Alert Level 3 and exemption criteria?
  • What is the job, contract or client you are working for?
  • Where is the work site in relation to the alert level boundary?
  • Who are the workers, what is their role and how are they linked to the work?
  • Why must these specific workers be involved and when they are involved?
  • Why can this work not be delayed?
  • Why can this work not be completed by someone who does not need to cross into, or out of Alert Level 3?

Testing for workers who cross Alert Level Boundaries

From 11:59pm on Thursday 16 September all workers who need to cross Alert Level boundaries to work at a permitted business must get a COVID-19 test, whether they have symptoms or not.        

Workers who are permitted to cross an Alert Level 3 boundary will be required to show evidence that they have had a test in the previous seven days and police will be conducting compliance checks.

The Ministry of Health have more information about the process you will need to follow and Healthpoint can help you find a testing location in your area.

Testing for workers who cross Alert Level boundaries guidance –health.govt.nz

Testing locations in your area – healthpoint.co.nz

Transiting through Alert Level 3 areas

You can travel directly through an Alert Level 3 area if you are:

  • going to or returning from work
  • relocating your business premises on a permanent or long-term basis.

Both the home and place of work must be in Alert Level 2 areas. You can apply for a business travel request using the "Certain other Business Travel" category and subcategory "Travelling directly through an Alert Level 3 area for work".

Workers transiting through an Alert Level Boundary should travel directly without stopping while in the Alert Level 3 area.

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: