The ABCC is responsible for promoting and monitoring compliance with the Code. To do this, we conduct site inspections, desktop audits and field audits.

Below, we’ve outlined what you can expect during code site inspections and audits.

Powers of ABC Inspectors

During compliance activities, an ABC Inspector may use their compliance powers, provided under Division 3 of the BCIIP Act, to make enquiries and obtain evidence. The powers of ABC Inspectors include:

  • power to enter premises
  • power to inspect and make copies of any record or document that is on the premises or accessible from a computer that is on the premises
  • power to interview any person
  • power to require—by notice—persons to produce records or documents.

Building contractors and building industry participants undertaking building work to which the Code applies must ensure that they do not intentionally hinder or obstruct ABC Inspectors exercising powers under the BCIIP Act.

Site Inspections: what to expect

An Inspection is a compliance activity that we perform to determine the level of Code compliance on a site. In most circumstances, no prior notice will be provided by the ABCC for Inspections.

To assess the level of Code compliance on a site, an ABC Inspector may:

  • require specific documentation for review
  • conduct a site walk
  • interview relevant people on site.

ABC Inspectors also review previous compliance activities conducted on the contractor’s sites nationally. While conducting an inspection, ABC Inspectors will assess the implementation of any rectification measures arising from previous compliance activities.

The duration of a site inspection varies depending on the site and other details. However, they usually take 45 minutes to an hour. Inspections may focus on a specific issue or be general in scope.

Audits: what to expect

Desktop and field audits are formal, in-depth compliance activities that help the ABCC assess a contractor’s compliance with the Code.

What happens during a desktop audit?

First, an ABC Inspector will issue you an audit notification letter. This letter will explain the details of the audit and outline any documentation that you are requested to produce, usually within 14 to 21 calendar days.

Following this, ABC Inspectors will assess the documentation provided and make an assessment of compliance with relevant provisions of the Code. ABC Inspectors may contact the entity that is subject to the audit to discuss documentation provided or to request further material.

What happens during a field audit?

First, an ABC Inspector will contact you, usually by telephone, approximately one week prior to the audit activity. During this call, the inspector will explain to you the audit process and confirm the scheduled date and time for the on-site audit activity.

Following this, an ABC Inspector will confirm, via written correspondence, the details previously advised during the initial phone call. This correspondence will outline any relevant documents that you are required to provide to the ABCC at this stage in the audit process.

Please note that subcontractors may be contacted by ABCC representatives to discuss on-site practices.

What happens on site during a field audit?

ABC Inspectors will attend the project or business at the previously arranged date and time. The Inspectors will conduct an initial briefing with Senior Management of the project to explain the on-site component of the audit process and answer any questions you have.

ABC Inspectors will then commence the audit by reviewing and copying documents. ABC Inspectors may also conduct a site walk in accordance with the safety requirements applicable to the project.

Once ABC Inspectors have reviewed and copied (where appropriate) documentation, they may interview relevant people, including members of site management. The time spent on site can vary depending on the scope and complexity of the audit. In most cases, ABC Inspectors will spend at least a day on site.

ABC Inspectors also review previous compliance activities conducted on the contractor’s sites nationally. As such, while conducting the audit, ABC Inspectors will assess the implementation of any promised rectification measures.

Please note that before or as soon as practicable after entering a premises to conduct an inspection or audit, an ABC Inspector will show their identity card and advise the purpose of their visit.

Finalising an audit

After analysis of documentation and interviews, ABC Inspectors will finalise the audit outcomes and notify any businesses involved.

If we identify breaches of the Code, we will send correspondence to the relevant business. Where possible we will provide an opportunity to rectify breaches voluntarily. For some breaches, voluntary rectification may not be adequate.

Recommendation to the Minister for a sanction

If it’s determined that a contractor has failed to comply with the Code, and that failure can’t be satisfactorily rectified, then the ABC Commissioner may recommend to the Minister that a sanction be imposed.

If this occurs, the relevant business will be notified and given the opportunity to make submissions. Sanctions may result in a building industry participant’s exclusion from tendering for, or being awarded, Commonwealth funded building work for a specified period.