The Building Code 2013 (Building Code) encourages productivity and lawful workplace relations on building sites. It sets out the Commonwealth Government’s expected standards for building industry participants involved in Commonwealth Government funded construction projects.

The Building Code applies to building industry participants who have submitted an expression of interest or tender for Commonwealth funded building work.

Once a building contractor becomes subject to the Building Code, they are required to comply with it at all times when undertaking building work, regardless of whether the project they are working on has received Commonwealth Government funding.

FWBC has primary responsibility for monitoring compliance with the Building Code, and provides advice and information to building industry participants.

The position of National Manager Building Code was established at the Executive level of FWBC to proactively implement the Building Code as a driver of behavioural change on construction projects. Cathy Cato commenced as National Manager in June 2015.

Voluntary Advisory Audit Program

The current legislated version of the Building Code took effect in March 2013. As no audit activity was conducted in 2012 to 13, FWBC invited major contractors to participate in a Voluntary Advisory Audit (VAA) Program from March to December 2014.

The VAA Program provided contractors with an opportunity to understand the new expectations of FWBC and commence rectification without consequence of sanction. Where breaches of the Building Code were identified, contractors were given advice and assistance to rectify the potential breaches and the necessary reform was initiated.

Table 2.12 sets out the VAAs by state. From 50 audits, a total of 37 potential breaches were identified. Thirty-nine per cent of contractors were found to be compliant, with the highest compliance level identified in New South Wales and the lowest levels identified in Queensland and Victoria.

Table 2.12 Voluntary Audits Conducted by State
State 2014 - 15
NSW 17
QLD 12
WA 6
SA 3
NT 1
Total 50

Building Code Compliance Activity

After establishing its expectations of industry, compulsory Building Code compliance activity commenced in January 2015 on construction sites across Australia. In the six months to June 2015, FWBC initiated 87 site inspections and 41 audits, with 20 audits completed as at 30 June 2015.

From the 20 audits completed, a total of 29 breaches were identified. Fifty per cent of contractors were found to be compliant, with the highest compliance level identified in New South Wales.

The nature of the breaches are consistent with the results of the VAA Program, with the majority being freedom of association, right of entry and failure to ensure compliance with the code by subcontractors. In each instance where non-compliance was identified, rectification was achieved through correspondence and education of the contractor.

Table 2.13 sets out the Building Code site inspections and audits by state.

Table 2.13 Building Code Site Inspections and Audits by State
State 2013 - 14 2014 - 15
NSW 12 19
VIC 5 40
QLD 7 7
WA 4 21
SA 2 7
TAS 0 18
ACT 2 6
NT 1 10
Total 33 128