Builder bit by final non-compliance notice from the ABCC
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has issued a rare Notice of Non-Compliance against Sydney-based construction company St Hilliers Contracting Pty Ltd (St Hilliers).
In late 2020, the ABCC commenced an audit of St Hilliers, with the company itself undertaking an internal investigation. It was revealed that approximately eight employees of St Hilliers had submitted false variation requests to their client, the Department of Defence, inflating subcontractor quotes.
St Hilliers was founded in 1989 and has been contracting to the Department of Defence for over 22 years.
The conduct occurred on 25 Commonwealth-funded construction projects, on 130 occasions, across New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.
None of the eight employees remain employed by St Hilliers.
The ABCC identified that as a result of the fraudulent claims, St Hilliers earned additional revenue amounting to $1,377,897.
The company has admitted to breaching the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 through the actions of its employees. The company has expressed remorse and has repaid in full the additional amounts payable to the Department of Defence.
The ABCC Commissioner has accepted the rectification measures subsequently initiated by St Hilliers following the investigation. These include:
Internal Ethics training;
External Ethics training;
Variation submission and work instruction process and system adjustments;
Staff incentive review; and
Section 108 of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 provides that:
If the ABCC Commissioner considers that it is in the public interest to do so, the ABCC Commissioner may publish details of:
non‑compliance with the Building Code, including the name of the person who has failed to comply; and
non‑compliance by a building industry participant with this Act or designated building laws, including the name of the participant who has failed to comply.
For queries about the National Code, the ABCC, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 0417 622 178, 1300 925 529 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.