5 March 2015 Industry Update

Compulsory 2013 Building Code audits starting

For the greater part of 2014, FWBC conducted voluntary audits under the 2013 Building Code. These audits were voluntary in nature as the building and construction industry participants who were subject of the audit participated on a voluntary basis. Throughout this audit program, where potential breaches of the Building Code were identified, FWBC undertook that it would not seek sanctions under the provision of the 2013 Building Code.  Rather, the participants were advised of any shortcomings identified during the audit and given the opportunity to correct them. 

2015 sees a shift in strategy for FWBC. The site visits, site inspections and audits that we will be conducting against the 2013 Building Code will no longer be only in response to requests for voluntary audits.  As a result, where breaches of the Building Code are identified through a visit, inspection or audit, sanctions may be sought. 

FWBC audits commenced in February 2015 with the primary focus on sections 7 to 22 of the Building Code 2013. These sections include (but are not limited to) the following obligations:

  • Workplace arrangements – the requirement for a subcontractor to have a particular workplace arrangemen
  • Coercion and undue influence or undue pressure to make over-award payments
  • Freedom of association
  • Rights of entry
  • Reporting requirements surrounding industrial action and general reporting requirements.

While conducting site visits, inspections and audits, the FWBC will be checking policies on the site, with the focus on the behaviour of persons at the site.

In general, the FWBC will not give advance notice of our intention to conduct site visits and site inspections.   Contractors are expected to be compliant with the Code at all times and not confined to those occasions when FWBC are on site. 

Audits on the other hand, will ordinarily be the subject of advance notice and will generally be conducted over a half to full day on site.    These audits may result in a sanction against an industry participant.  Where breaches of the Building Code are identified, the Director FWBC may recommend that a sanction be imposed on the offending industry participant. Sanctions can vary from a letter of caution up to the exclusion of a contractor from tendering for Commonwealth Government work for a period of up to six months. This may be extended a further six month for each breach thereafter.

Further details on the Building Code 2013 and the associated Guidelines are available at the FWBC website at www.fwbc.gov.au or by contacting FWBC on 1800 003 338.

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