Construction activity impacts

Community impacts

The city undergoes constant change with many buildings constructed and alterations or additions to existing buildings being carried out. Maintenance of existing buildings can often involve significant building work.

We recognise building works and associated activity can have impacts on public spaces and to building occupants.

To minimise construction impacts the City of Sydney expects and requires work to be done in a controlled and orderly manner. Works must also comply with various adopted controls, development consent conditions and other approvals.

Who is responsible?

Developers, builders, contractors and building certifiers are responsible for ensuring work is carried out in line with any approval requirements issued.

Public safety and protection must be provided, including an acceptable level of public amenity near worksites.

For development and other activities carried out in public spaces the City is responsible for ensuring the work is carried out in line with any approval requirements issued.

Where necessary, the City can take appropriate action to deal with non-compliance and impacts affecting the public.

Keeping you informed

We encourage developers and builders to maintain good relations and open communication with local residents and businesses during the various stages of work.

In some cases, particularly for large projects, we may impose a condition of development consent for developers/builders to develop detailed communication strategies.

This is to ensure the community is kept informed at various stages of a project. Such strategies could include information about:

  • special conditions of consent that must be implemented and followed to minimise impacts on the surrounding area
  • clear information about construction work times
  • start and estimated end dates including major construction stages such as, demolition, excavation, in-ground and above-ground works
  • how construction impacts will be managed including dust, noise and vibration, site remediation works, truck movements and unloading
  • how public spaces adjoining the worksite will be cleaned and maintained.

Some activities may be permitted outside approved hours and may include:

  • crane delivery and set-up
  • hoarding installation/dismantling
  • special delivery of large equipment.

This may include transport and delivery of large structural items that cannot be done during standard work times due to impacts on traffic and pedestrian movement.

Approval must be obtained before works commence through the lodgement of an application to the City.

Communication may take several forms

For very large developments a construction liaison committee may be required as a condition of the development consent. Liaison committees will generally comprise people who reside or work close to the development site or any other interested group.

For smaller developments, community newsletters at key project stages may be required as a condition of the development consent. The newsletters should be distributed via letter box drop or email to interested or registered parties.

Posting regular updates on the websites of the company carrying out the development can also be an effective way to keep local residents and businesses informed of construction activities.

Newsletters and websites must contain contact details of key site personnel to ensure people can report issues or impacts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The newsletters should also let people know about ongoing communication and how to sign-up for email notifications.

Site approvals and monitoring

The City does not oversee and control all construction activities. To monitor and regulate development activity, there are a number of split roles and responsibilities.

Construction approval and activity including ongoing monitoring and compliance is mainly the responsibility of building certifiers, also known as accredited certifiers and principal certifiers.

In the city, the majority of developments are overseen by private accredited certifiers, which are appointed by the developer or property owner. The City can act as a principal certifier if appointed.

Primary responsibility for monitoring development and responding to issues or complaints from the public therefore lies with certifiers instead of the City.

Where impacts affect the public and the community the City will also respond and take action.

There are however a number of overlapping areas and responsibilities such as impacts on public spaces that the City may also regulate, additional to the role of certifiers.

Regulatory functions and services

Where the City is responsible for regulating construction works and responding to complaints several business units have overall responsibility.

The City’s construction and building certification services unit is responsible for a number of construction-related activities including installation of temporary structures within public spaces, typically on roadways and footways.

Some other examples include:

  • monitoring worksite operations and the maintenance of temporary structures installed within public spaces (construction and building certification services unit)
  • road openings/excavations (construction regulation team)
  • mobile crane hoisting operations on roadways (construction regulation team)
  • site-based cranes and other hoisting devices (building certification team)
  • barricading (construction regulation team).

Other business units also have certain responsibilities for construction-related activities.

City rangers:

  • construction noise and working outside of approved hours
  • obstruction of footways/roadways
  • illegal parking within works zones
  • pollution incidents (soil and debris movement offsite and concrete spillage on roadways).

Health and building unit:

  • noise impacts from worksites
  • investigating pollution incidents including excessive dust nuisances
  • non-compliance with development consents.

City infrastructure and traffic operations:

  • reconstruction of footways and roadways associated with development sites;
  • impacts or damage on city infrastructure
  • ground anchoring and stormwater drainage connection approvals
  • street tree protection and pruning
  • relocation of street furniture and light poles
  • traffic changes and works zone approval and control.

Issues such as excessive noise caused by demolition and construction activity, dust impacts and working outside of the approved times are also regulated by other units (listed above) .

To improve compliance and minimise construction impacts, the City’s construction regulation team provides a free service to help builders and contractors with:

  • site establishment processes
  • understanding relevant regulations that must be followed
  • obtaining various approvals that may be required
  • understanding important conditions of development consent particularly applying to public spaces.

This service involves onsite meetings with builders and contractors to discuss the proposed works and how to manage public spaces adjoining worksites.

The main purpose of this service is to identify potential issues and offsite impacts. The service ensures:

  • builders and contractors are fully aware of the City’s requirements and expectations including relevant development consent conditions
  • an orderly and compliant undertaking of work within the constraints and limitations of a site
  • works cause the least possible impact on the local community and environment.

Monitoring and investigating complaints

Follow these links to find out who is responsible for monitoring and investigating complaints about these impacts:


For further information and assistance, please contact:

Construction and building certification services unit 02 9265 9333

Construction regulation team02 9265 9333

Last updated: Sunday, 1 December 2019