EMPLOYMENT Minister Michaelia Cash issued a new Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 on 2 December 2016. The new code is now in effect and for the most part replaces the Building Code 2013.

In a 2 December 2016 media release, the Minister said:

“The Code will apply to all new tenders for Commonwealth-funded building work and all building contractors who tender will need to comply with the Code’s conduct requirements on building sites from today onwards.”

Complying with the code includes ensuring compliance with right of entry laws for union officials, freedom of association provisions protecting workers’ rights to join or not join a union, and work health and safety and security of payment laws, ‘or risk losing access to Commonwealth-funded building work’, the Minister said.

“New enterprise agreements made from today must comply with the new Code in order to be eligible to be awarded Commonwealth-funded work.

“Building contractors covered by enterprise agreements made before [2 December 2016] now have until 29 November 2018 to ensure their agreements are Code compliant. Enterprise agreements are made at the time that employees vote to approve the agreement.”

Obligations in the Building Code 2013 continue to apply to Commonwealth-funded building work for which expressions of interest or tenders were issued prior to the commencement of the new code on 2 December 2016.

The issuing of the new code follows the enactment of the Building & Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 along with the Building & Construction Industry (Consequential & Transitional Provisions) Act 2016. Both pieces of legislation passed through the Senate on 30 November 2016 and received Royal Assent on 1 December 2016.

This is the legislation to re-establish the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC).

According to the Act’s commencement provisions, it took effect the day after Royal Assent (2 December 2016). The new Code, while also taking effect on 2 December 2016, contains transitional provisions for current enterprise agreements to become code-compliant which were put in place via cross-bench amendments to the legislation before it passed through the Senate.

The transitional provisions mean that contractors that have an existing non-code compliant agreement in place have until 29 November 2018 before they have to become code-compliant and in the meantime can still tender for federal government-funded building work. The transitional provisions were introduced into the legislation just before it passed through the parliament by Senators Nick Xenophon and Derryn Hinch.

A final version of the Building & Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 as passed through both houses of parliament is available here.

Please click here for a detailed AMMA summary of the legislation.

Join AMMA’s webinar to explain these changes:

For further information and advice, please contact your local AMMA office.

Meanwhile, AMMA has scheduled a webinar on Thursday 8 December 2016 for interested members where AMMA will discuss further details of the legislation and code.

Click here to register for AMMA’s Webinar on the new ABCC and Building Code.