How we investigate

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) enforces the Commonwealth workplace relations laws that apply to the building and construction industry. The ABCC’s job is to ensure a level playing field where all industry participants are treated fairly and are committed to doing the right thing.

If there is an alleged contravention of workplace relations laws, then it is the ABCC’s job to investigate the contravention. From the investigation, the ABCC will then make a decision on the form of compliance required to deal with any suspected contravention.

Our jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of the ABCC covers anyone who is a ‘building industry participant’. A ‘building industry participant’ is someone who is involved with ‘building work’.


What to expect from an investigation

During an investigation, an Australian Building and Construction (ABC) Inspector examines the details of the case to determine whether there has been a contravention of a relevant Commonwealth workplace relations law. Investigations generally start because a complaint has been made, although sometimes the ABCC chooses to audit particular industries or workplaces in the absence of a specific complaint.


Examination powers

When investigating a complaint, ABC Inspectors will use all avenues available to them to seek the relevant information voluntarily. If they are unable to obtain the information they require voluntarily, and all such avenues have been exhausted, the Australian Building and Construction (ABC) Commissioner may consider using the examination powers contained in the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act).


Your personal information

During the course of an investigation, an ABC Inspector may collect and use information relating to complainants, witnesses to alleged contraventions, building employees, building employers and other individuals. This information is handled in accordance with the ABCC’s obligations under the Privacy Act 1988. More information about this may be found on the Your personal information page. 

The ABCC also has to comply with specific obligations in relation to information obtained during the course of a formal examination conducted under the BCIIP Act.


Investigation outcomes

The ABCC has a number of compliance options available to it depending on the outcome of an investigation. After considering the sufficiency of evidence and the public interest, the ABCC will determine which compliance outcome is most appropriate in the circumstances.


Request a review

Parties involved in an investigation conducted by the ABCC can request a review of the investigation. The review may be requested if a party to the investigation believes the behaviour of the relevant ABC Inspector was unprofessional, the investigative process was unsatisfactory or they are not happy with the outcome of the investigation.

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or