A NEW code of practice for the Victorian construction industry will take effect from tomorrow having been publicly released less than a week ago.

The Victorian Code of Practice for the Building and Construction Industry 2014 will retain the drug and alcohol testing requirements introduced into the state code and guidelines in July this year, and also includes a requirement that successful tenderers provide the client agency with a project-specific health and safety management plan that meets the client agency’s satisfaction.

Under the code, workplace conduct, agreements, arrangements, practices and procedures engaged in or entered into from 8 October 2014 must not be inconsistent with the objectives of the Victorian Code.

Among the new code’s objectives is to “promote an improved workplace relations framework for building and construction work to ensure it is carried out lawfully, fairly, efficiently, productively and safely for the benefit of all persons”.

The Victorian Code includes a raft of provisions relating to workplace relations arrangements and prohibitions on particular courses of conduct.

The Victorian Minister for Finance has overall responsibility for the implementation of the code, which is intended to supplement and apply in addition to the requirements of the federal Building Code (see below for further details).

From 8 October 2014, the new Victorian code will replace the previous Victorian Code of Practice for the Building & Construction Industry and Implementation Guidelines. The new code will apply to all construction projects covered by the previous code and guidelines.

A building industry participant that was not previously required to comply with the Implementation Guidelines will become subject to the new code from the date it expresses interest in or tenders for on-site public building and construction work.

From the date a participant becomes subject to the Victorian Code, it also becomes subject to the code for any privately-funded building and construction work that it undertakes.

Click here for more information about the Victorian Code.

Federal code and legislative developments

Meanwhile, the Building & Construction Industry (Fair and Lawful Building Sites) Code (the federal building code) is awaiting the passing into law of the Building & Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013 before taking effect. The Bill has passed through the Lower House of parliament but is yet to pass through the Upper House.

The federal building code will come into effect the day after the Bill receives Royal Assent but is proposed to have retrospective effect on industrial agreements made after 24 April 2014. What that means is that once the federal code commences, in order to be eligible for Commonwealth-funded building work, enterprise agreements made by code-covered entities after 24 April 2014 will need to meet the code’s requirements.