Building Code

The advance release of the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014 sets out the Australian Government’s expected standards for all building industry participants involved in Commonwealth-funded construction projects. The advance release contains important requirements about the content of enterprise agreements developed after 24 April 2014. See section below entitled ‘Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014’ for further information.

Pending the formal issuing of the advance release, important changes have been made to the Building Code 2013 in relation to the management of drugs and alcohol in the workplace for persons performing building work on construction sites. See section below entitled ‘Building Code 2013 – Drug and alcohol provisions’ for further information.

Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014

On 17 April 2014, the former Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, published an advance release of the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014.

The purpose of the advance release is to enable contractors who intend to tender for Commonwealth-funded building work to be aware, in advance, of the Australian Government’s requirements in respect of their enterprise agreements. See in particular, clause 11 – Content of agreements and prohibited conduct, arrangements and practices – of the advance release.

The advance release will come into effect when the Government’s legislation to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission commences. When in effect, the eligibility provisions of the advance release will involve a consideration of the content of enterprise agreements made after 24 April 2014.

This means that Code-covered entities that have entered into non-compliant agreements after 24 April 2014 will, for the date the new Code commences, not be eligible to undertake Commonwealth-funded building work.

On 28 November 2014, the former Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, published a revised advance release of the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014

The revised advance release contains amendments to the earlier version which was released on 17 April 2014. Changes include:

  • applying the content requirements for enterprise agreements (section 11) to enterprise agreements that are varied (subsection 11(2A));
  • prohibiting reading down clauses in enterprise agreements (section 11A);
  • requiring that a Code-covered entity must comply with its obligations under the Migration Act 1958 (subsection 9(4)); and
  • other minor technical amendments.

On 28 November 2014, the Minister also released an updated Explanatory Statement to the Advance Release of the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014.

More information is available in the media release.

Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) 2014 – Agreement assessments

On 28 November 2014, the Government published a revised advance release of the Building and Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code 2014.

When the Code is formally issued, a re-established Australian Building and Construction Commission may issue a determination that an enterprise agreement meets the requirements of section 11 of the Code. However, until the Code is formally issued, the department is able to undertake interim assessments of draft agreements on request, for compliance with the advance release of the Code. Entities that would like an interim assessment should email the draft agreement to building@employment.gov.au.

Building Code 2013 – Drug and alcohol provisions

The Building Code (Fitness for Work/Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace) Amendment Instrument 2015 was issued by the Minister for Employment on 18 September 2015.

The instrument amends the Building Code 2013 by requiring all contractors covered by the Code to ensure that their management of drugs and alcohol in the workplace is reflected in their work health safety and rehabilitation management system.

The instrument also requires principal contractors on building projects, to which the Commonwealth’s funding contribution is above certain thresholds, to have a fitness for work policy to manage drug and alcohol testing in the workplace including mandatory testing of workers who attend a site to perform building work.

The amendments aim to ensure that no person performing building work does so under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Fair Work Building and Construction is responsible for auditing projects to ensure the drug and alcohol requirements of the fitness for work policy are being implemented. While the amendments come into force on 16 October 2015, in the first instance Fair Work Building and Construction will be educating building industry participants on the requirements and seeking rectification measures where non-compliance is found.

A copy of the amending instrument and explanatory statement can be found on the Comlaw website.

A Fact Sheet about the new drug and alcohol provisions is available on the Fair Work Building and Construction website.

Further information about the Building Code 2013

The Building Code 2013 was issued under the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (FWBI Act).

The Building Code 2013 came into effect on 1 February 2013. A copy of the Building Code 2013 is available, and the Building Code 2013 explanatory statement is also available.

A Fact Sheet containing further information on the application of the Building Code 2013, other than the new drug and alcohol provisions, can be found at The Building Code 2013 - Questions and Answers.

The Supporting Guidelines for Commonwealth Funding Entities set out the Commonwealth procurement obligations placed on funding entities in relation to the Building Code 2013.

For information concerning Sanctions for breaches of the Building Code 2013 please visit our resources page.

Want to know more?
Email building@employment.gov.au
National Code Hotline 1300 731 293