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New Code Of Conduct For WA’s Building Industry

A new code of conduct for Western Australia’s building and construction industry aims to stamp out inappropriate behaviour on construction sites and promotes timely payment of subcontractors.

The code of conduct will be introduced to prevent anti-competitive behaviour, improve workplace safety and add to the suite of measures adopted by the State Government to ensure subcontractors are paid on time.

Finance and Small Business Minister Sean L’Estrange said the introduction of the WA Building and Construction Industry Code of Conduct 2016, together with recent amendments to the Construction Contracts Act 2004 and the introduction of Project Bank Accounts for Department of Finance contracts, would promote competition and support small businesses so they were not subjected to unfair business practices.

“Non-compliance of the code could see building and construction contractors excluded from working on Government projects,” Mr L’Estrange said.

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the code would apply from January 1, 2017 to major State building and construction contracts worth more than $10 million and would be rolled out to all other contracts when provisions could be drafted and included in the tendering process.

“It is anticipated the code will apply to nine major projects before the end of January 2017 with a combined contract value in excess of $250 million,” Mr Mischin said.

“This staged approach to implementation will ensure contractors tendering for major projects have the capacity to meet the obligations of the code.

“The code includes specific measures to support small business including prohibiting anti-competitive behaviour such as price fixing and sham contracting and the ability to sanction head contractors who had failed to make payments or return retention money within the specified time.

“It will also address unfair contracting terms where head contractors expect subcontractors to sign contracts which could disadvantage them.”

Treasurer Mike Nahan said the code would ensure value for money for WA taxpayers during the construction of State infrastructure projects.

The Construction Contracts Amendment Act 2016, which passed last month, will reduce maximum payment terms permitted in construction contracts to 30 business days, which equates to 42 calendar days, from April 3, 2017 and make it easier for subcontractors to access the rapid adjudication for resolving payment disputes.

Project Bank Accounts protect subcontractors from head contractor insolvency by ensuring funding is available to meet subcontractors’ legitimate payment entitlements via a dedicated bank account, rather than relying on payment by the head contractor.

Source: Media Statement, Government of Western Australia, “New code of conduct for WA’s building industry”