Following the recent restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), guidance material is now available on the ABCC website to help contractors navigate their way through recent changes.
The material relates to the ABCC’s new governing legislation, 2016 Code and amendments to the Code in February 2017.
The material can be accessed at www.abcc.gov.au
The Master Plumbers & Gasfitters Association recommends all plumbing contractors familiarise themselves with the changes that have been incorporated from the 2013 Code to the 2016 Code.
Some key areas that may impact you include:
Eligibility of contractors to work on Federal Government construction projects
The ABCC issues Letters of Compliance for enterprise agreements made on or after 25 April 2014 that meet Building Code 2016 requirements. The ABCC can also provide advice on whether individual clauses and proposed agreements meet the requirements of the Building Code 2016.
To streamline the assessment process, the ABCC has introduced a two-step process which requires stakeholders to undertake a preliminary review of their agreement before submitting it to the ABCC for consideration.
The amendments to the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 reduced the transition period for enterprise agreement content from two years to nine months. The new transition period concludes 31 August 2017.
Subject to certain exemptions, companies with non-code compliant agreements can tender for, but not be awarded Commonwealth funded work during this transition. Contractors can use the relevant Self-Declaration form (available on the ABCC website) to demonstrate their eligibility to express interest in or tender for work during this period.
Contractors that have already tendered for Commonwealth funded building work between 2 December 2016 and 16 February 2017 may also be subject to certain exemptions to be awarded and undertake Commonwealth-funded building work until 29 November 2018. Contractors can also use the relevant form from the website to demonstrate eligibility in this instance.
Note that if the ABCC issued you with a letter of compliance for an enterprise agreement made before 2 December 2016 that states you are eligible to tender until 29 November 2018, this letter is no longer valid and you will need to re-satisfy the eligibility criteria to contract for Commonwealth funded building work.
There are some exemptions for contractors with non-compliant EBAs – check the ABCC website for more details and to undertake the preliminary assessments relevant to your situation.
Workplace Relations Management Plans (WRMP)
The 2016 Code requires plumbers who bid for Federal Government funded construction work to include a WRMP as part of the bid process. The WRMP must be specific to each project you intend to bid on.
As part of the tender evaluation process, the federal agency will submit the WRMP to the ABCC for assessment on a range of criteria set out in section 32 and schedule 3 of the 2016 Code. A federal agency cannot award a contract to a builder in the absence of ABCC approving the WRMP.
It is recommended you familiarise yourself with the sections. The ABCC has mapped out a guide for builders on what to include in a WRMP.
Builders should also note the ABCC will, as part of its remit, conduct audits on site of compliance by a builder against the WRMP for the relevant project. That is, a builder is required to actively monitor and apply the terms and conditions of the WRMP on site as a contract condition.
For more information, see the ABCC website or call the ABCC Hotline on 1800 003 338.