Workplace relations management plans
A Workplace Relations Management Plan (WRMP) is required under Section 25 of the Code for Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (Building Code).
When issuing expression of interest or tender documents funding entities must ensure the requirement to have a WRMP approved by the ABCC is included:
- where the Commonwealth’s contribution to the project that contains building work is $5 million or more and this represents at least 50% of the total construction project value, or
- where the Commonwealth contributes $10 million or more, irrespective of what percentage of the total construction project value that represents.
As soon as practicable after a funding entity issues a request for expression of interest (EOI) or requests for tender (RFT) (howsoever described) for building work, the funding entity must inform the ABCC.
Tenderers will be advised by the funding entity if a WRMP is required for a particular project.
A funding entity must not award a tender to a respondent unless that respondent’s WRMP has been approved by the ABCC.
What is a WRMP?
A WRMP is a comprehensive, practical plan that outlines how a tenderer will comply with the requirements of the Building Code on a particular project.
Section 32 of the Building Code provides that a WRMP must explain a head contractor’s proposed systems, processes and procedures to:
- clearly and effectively communicate how the Building Code requirements apply to all building industry participants on site;
- promote a fair, lawful, efficient and productive workplace; and
- deliver the project on time and within budget.
A WRMP must also include:
- a Fitness for Work policy to manage alcohol and other drugs in the workplace that covers the matters set out in Schedule 4 of the Building Code 2016; and
- details of the processes to ensure that security of payment laws and other requirements will be adhered to throughout the life of the project.
For more information about Fitness for Work policies, see Building Code - Alcohol and other drugs in the workplace.
Section 32(1)(b) of the Building Code 2016, provides that the WRMP may also be required to address certain matters in Schedule 3 of the Building Code, including:
- how workplace arrangements will be regulated and monitored on the project;
- productivity measures on the project;
- the approach to relationship management and the lines of communication and reporting on the project;
- workplace relations risks on the project and a head contractor’s past experiences in project delivery; and
- how compliance with the Building Code will be monitored and promoted on the project.
The ABCC will inform the funding entity about whether the ABCC requires any of the matters outlined in Schedule 3 to be addressed. Tenderers will be advised by the funding entity if they are required to address these matters in their WRMP.
The ABCC has developed a guide, which includes a model WRMP, to assist tenderers in meeting their obligations under the Building Code 2016. Tenderers are requested to follow the structure and format of the model when developing their WRMPs.
This model WRMP includes references to matters listed in Schedule 3 of the Building Code 2016. A WRMP may not be required to address all these matters. Tenderers will be advised by the funding entity which sections need to be addressed. Tenderers may choose to voluntarily address all of the matters set out in Schedule 3 as a matter of best practice.
What is the process for an ABCC Assessment of my WRMP?
As part of submitting a tender response for relevant Commonwealth building work projects, tenderers are required to submit their proposed WRMP for the project to the funding entity with their tender documents. WRMPs cannot be submitted by a tenderer directly to the ABCC. This is to ensure the probity and independence of the tender process and evaluation is maintained, and to ensure the ABCC is not in the position of providing advantage to one tenderer over another by directly engaging with them to provide advice.
As part of the tender evaluation process funding entities will apply to the ABCC for approval of the WRMPs of short listed respondents. All tenderer interaction around a project specific WRMP will be with the funding entity.
The ABCC will review the WRMPs submitted by a funding entity to ensure each WRMP addresses all of the requirements of the Building Code. The WRMP must address the requirements in section 32 of the Building Code 2016, and the requirements in Schedule 3 of the Building Code as advised by the funding entity.
The ABCC will provide the funding entity with an assessment record for each assessed WRMP. This record will indicate whether the WRMP has been approved or not, including specific changes required where not approved. If the ABCC does not have sufficient information to approve the proposed WRMP, the funding entity may ask a tenderer to provide an updated WRMP for approval, and the funding entity may reapply for approval of a short listed respondent’s updated WRMP. As noted above, the ABCC will not liaise directly with the respondent.
Under the Code, a funding entity must not enter into a contract with a tenderer if their WRMP has not been approved by the ABCC.
Compliance with an approved WRMP
The Building Code requires head contractors to comply with their WRMP. This is a critical part of a head contractor’s compliance obligations. A failure of a head contractor to comply with its WRMP for a project is a breach of the Building Code.
Head contractors must also, as far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that subcontractors comply with the head contractor’s WRMP.
A failure by a subcontractor to comply with a head contractor’s WRMP may result in a breach of the Building Code by the head contractor.
Need more information?
For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.