FWBC to monitor compliance with new drug and alcohol testing policy

Changes have been made to the Building Code 2013 (Building Code) which make drug and alcohol testing mandatory on Federal Government funded projects. FWBC will be responsible for monitoring compliance with these changes, which come into effect on 16 October, 2015. Under the changes to the Building Code, head contractors must have a comprehensive policy for managing drug and alcohol issues in the workplace, including mandatory testing and a zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol.

As a minimum, frequent and periodic drug and alcohol testing of both construction and site office workers should be conducted:

·         Where there are less than 30 workers on site – at least 10% of the workforce per month;

·         Where there are between 30 and 100 workers on site – a minimum of five workers per month; and

·         Where there are more than 100 workers on site – at least 10 workers per month

These changes apply to both new and existing Federal Government projects that meet the financial threshold. Whilst drug and alcohol testing is not required on private sites, all building contractors covered by the Building Code must ensure that the management of drugs and alcohol is reflected in their WHS&R management system. This will help to ensure that no person attending the site to perform building work does so under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

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

Companies or subcontractors found to be in serious breach of the Building Code can be sanctioned. The sanction may include being banned from working on Commonwealth funded projects. In the first instance, FWBC will be educating building industry participants on the requirements and seeking rectification measures where non-compliance is found. FWBC will continue to monitor all other aspects of the Building Code.

For more information, visit FWBC’s website at www.fwbc.gov.au/building-code or call FWBC’s Hotline on 1800 003 338. Your call can be anonymous.


Editor’s Note:

The drug and alcohol testing requirements apply to all Commonwealth funded projects where:

·         The value of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the project is at least $5 million and represents at least 50% of the total construction project value; or

·         The Commonwealth’s contribution to the project is at least $10 million.

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