Monitoring compliance with the Code: what to expect

At the ABCC, we monitor compliance with the Code by code covered entities, primarily on Commonwealth funded building work but also on their private projects.

We monitor compliance through conducting site inspections and audits.

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

The ABCC conducts desktop and field audits. Both types of audit are in-depth compliance activities that assess a contractor’s compliance with particular aspects of the Code.

We’ve outlined the details of these audits for you below.

Desktop audit

Desktop audits are undertaken when the scope of the audit is limited to issues where the ABCC can assess compliance through documentary evidence.

Desktop audits may be commenced:

  • in response to a Code report or notification
  • by assessing documents provided by funding entities during the tendering process
  • to assess compliance with a specific Code requirement(s) by requesting documents from a code covered entity

When documents are requested, the code covered entity is usually provided 14 to 21 business days to produce the documents.

What else happens during a desktop audit?

The ABCC assesses the documents for compliance with relevant provisions of the Code.

ABC Inspectors may also contact the code covered entity being audited to discuss the documentation or to request further material.

Field audit

Field audits are undertaken when the scope of the audit requires the ABCC to assess compliance with the Code through a combination of documentary evidence, observations on site and interviews with relevant witnesses.

Field audits may be commenced:

  • in response to a Code report or notification
  • following a site inspection
  • to check compliance with voluntary rectification measures
  • where documentary evidence is not sufficient to assess compliance

For a field audit, an ABC Inspector will usually contact the selected business representative by telephone approximately one week prior to the audit activity. The ABC Inspector will explain the audit process and confirm the scheduled date and time for the audit activity.

An ABC Inspector will confirm via relevant details via written correspondence and is likely to request relevant documents prior to the field audit stage.

As part of the audit process, ABC Inspectors may contact subcontractors before and after the field audit stage to discuss on-site practices and any other issues relevant to the scope of the audit.

What else happens during a field audit activity?

ABC Inspectors will attend the project or business at the advised time and date. An initial briefing will occur with Senior Management of the project. During this briefing, the on-site component of the audit process will be explained and any questions can be answered.

ABC Inspectors will then commence the audit and review, and make copies of any relevant 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 persons, 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 up to 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 may assess the implementation of any promised rectification measures.

Finalising the audit

After analysing the documentation and interviews, the ABCC will assess compliance with the relevant provisions of the Code and inform you and any other relevant parties of the outcome.

In the event that breaches are identified, correspondence will be sent to the code covered entity with an opportunity (where appropriate) for the matter to be rectified voluntarily.

It’s important to note that on some occasions breaches cannot be satisfactorily rectified.

Site inspections: what to expect

An inspection is a compliance activity undertaken by the ABCC to establish the level of Code compliance on a site within a particular scope and provide education if appropriate.

In most circumstances, the ABCC will not provide prior notice before conducting a site inspection.

To accurately assess the level of Code compliance on site, ABC Inspectors may:

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

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