Reaccreditation: Your questions answered
Under the Australian Government Building and Construction WHS Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme), accredited contractors are accredited for a period of up to three years.
At the end of this period, to maintain accreditation under the Scheme, accredited contractors must reapply for accreditation. This is known as ‘reaccreditation’. companies seeking re-accreditation may be granted an accreditation period of up to 6 years.
Reaccreditation is a requirement of the Fair Work (Building Industry - Accreditation Scheme) Regulation 2016 (The Regulation).
You can apply for reaccreditation in hard copy or email. An application that provides relevant, clear explanations of how your company manages OHS with well labelled references to attachments is likely to progress through the process more quickly.
The OFSC strongly recommends submitting an application at least six months from your accreditation expiry date to allow sufficient time for the application assessment and onsite audit/s. Since implementing the reaccreditation process, the OFSC has found a number of accredited contractors who submitted applications less than six months from their expiry date were unable to achieve reaccreditation in time.
The time taken to process an application can depend on a number of factors, including the content of your application, how clearly laid out it is, whether the supporting documentation is satisfactory, your past performance history and your performance at audit.
Accredited contractors should submit their reaccreditation applications at least six months prior to their current accreditation expiry date (AED) to reduce the risk of accreditation lapsing. While reaccreditation applications can be submitted earlier than six months from the expiry date, the assessment of the application will commence at eight months prior to the AED. At that time, all accredited contractors will receive a letter advising of the likely audit arrangements. Accredited contractors can request that their application be treated as a priority if there is a specific need.
Why will applications submitted early not be assessed until eight months prior to the current accreditation expiry date?
In most cases, reaccreditation applications submitted earlier than eight months prior to their current AED will not be assessed until the company reaches the eight month mark. This is to ensure that the current audit arrangements for reaccreditation are not disrupted and that company’s full three year performance history can be considered. Accredited contractors should notify the OFSC if there are factors to consider in assessing their application prior to this point such as specific tendering or contracting requirements.
Should accreditation lapse after your application has been received you will be listed on the FSC website as being in the reaccreditation process. The Australian Government cannot enter into a contract with you unless reaccreditation is achieved, although you can tender for building work that is funded directly or indirectly by the Australian Government.
It is the responsibility of the company to allow six months before their accreditation expiry date to ensure that the application is received and processed prior to their accreditation expiration.
We will prioritise applications from accredited contractors currently working on Scheme projects to try and avoid accreditation from lapsing. With this in mind, accredited contractors should advise in their applications if they are working on Scheme projects.
Accredited contractors should note in their applications if they are intending to tender for Scheme projects. Information should include the details of the project, relevant government agency and important timeframes. This will enable the OFSC to prioritise your application appropriately.
If a company does not apply for reaccreditation they will be removed from the accreditation register once their current accreditation expiry date lapses. They will no longer be able to enter into contracts for Government funded building work covered by the Scheme.
We ask that accredited contractors who are not intending to apply for reaccreditation inform the OFSC of their decision.
To meet the requirements of the Regulations, and to allow the FSC to make an informed decision, the reaccreditation process will require a full application to be assessed through an application assessment and an onsite audit.
Reaccreditation is not just an extension of accreditation; the FSC must consider a range of matters (as stipulated in the Regulations) in awarding reaccreditation.
The process of accredited contractors submitting an application against all criteria is viewed as a valuable component of the reaccreditation process and will ensure that assessments are undertaken on the most up-to-date company information. For example, a company’s performance history is thoroughly reviewed during reaccreditation.
The FSC encourages accredited contractors under the Scheme to continually improve their OHS and strive for sites where no one is harmed. With this in mind, reaccreditation is an opportunity for accredited contractors to demonstrate their OHS progress and system enhancements.
How will the reaccreditation audit fit in with my current Project Safety (PSA) or Maintenance Audits?
Generally Project Safety and Maintenance audits will decrease prior to accreditation expiry date, although where performance issues have been identified accredited contractors may continue to be monitored.
The audit process will be streamlined for reaccreditation where possible, generally involving a one day onsite audit. Each company’s performance over their three year accreditation period will be assessed and inform the focus and duration of the onsite audit, so in some cases a two day audit may be needed.
Reaccreditation audits will have a focus on mobile plant and equipment. This is in response to data that indicates it is one of the greatest causes of injury in the industry. It should be noted the audit may extend to an assessment of other hazards especially if a company has outstanding corrective actions or a poor performance record in a particular area.
If mobile plant isn’t available, the next most appropriate hazard will be chosen through consultation between the company and the Audit Team.
Is it necessary to close out Corrective Action Reports (CARs) prior to applying for reaccreditation?
All accredited contractors are encouraged to address any outstanding issues prior to reaccreditation. Open non-conformances or areas of concern will be addressed at the reaccreditation audit.
In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct an audit prior to reaccreditation to close out non-conformances. This will be subject to case-by-case review by the Audit Team.