Want a piece of the action on Government funded projects?

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Published on: July 26, 2019

There’s so much infrastructure and construction work going on in New South Wales right now. In fact, the 2019-20 NSW Government Budget is the largest infrastructure commitment ever undertaken by a state government! Check out these figures:

So many of our clients in the construction industry continue to tell us how competitive the market is in winning privately funded projects, and it just keeps coming down to price.

More often than not, they’re having to kill their margins to win work and keep the cash flowing.

Sound familiar?

With the new financial year upon us, are you looking for new channels to bring in more work at better margins?

Is your business in the construction and related services industry, and working in New South Wales?

Did you know that Government funded projects generally offer more commercially realistic margins than privately funded projects? Of course these margins depend on the type and size of project, whether they’re state or federally funded, and the scope of services. Just keep in mind that the funds have already been budgeted and, once you’re prequalified, you’ve stepped up your game to bid at a higher level.

Another benefit is, since the flow of government dollars is fairly steady, you can increase focus on government work when the economy is slow and migrate back into more private work when the economy is booming.

Do you want to get a piece of the action on state and federally funded construction and infrastructure projects?

Here’s our guide on where to start…

New South Wales Government Pre-Qualification

New South Wales Government Pre-Qualification

The official scheme for New South Wales (NSW) Government prequalification is called the Contractor Prequalification and Best Practice Accreditation Scheme for Construction and Related Works Valued $1 Million and Over.

It offers panels of prequalified contractors for construction and related works the opportunity to service the requirements of NSW government agencies, state owned corporations, public institutions (such as universities) and NSW local government councils, for the following work categories:

  • Civil works (including water infrastructure and wastewater treatment specialties)
  • Fit-out and refurbishment
  • Building works (including heritage specialities)

And for the following contract systems:

  • Construction
  • Design and construct
  • Managing contractor

To get started towards prequalification, here are the minimum management system requirements:

  1. Quality Management System – achieve JAS-ANZ Accredited Certification to ISO 9001:2015
  2. Work Health and Safety Management System – achieve Certification to the NSW Government Work Health and Safety Management Systems and Auditing Guidelines Edition 5; and
  3. Environmental Management System – achieve Certification to the NSW Government Environmental Management Systems Guidelines Edition 3 OR achieve JAS-ANZ Accredited Certification to ISO 14001:2015

Please note that, in addition to the minimum management system requirements, there are other prequalification requirements, which can be found in the Eligibility Checklist in the Guidelines for Applicants: Prequalification.

Note: We haven’t gone into detail about these other prequalification requirements in this article. If your business has been operating in the private sector for a number of years already, and you achieve the above management system requirements, you will meet the majority of the other prequalification requirements by default.

Once you have your management system requirements in order, the next steps are:

  1. Apply for contractor pre-qualification on the NSW Government Procurepoint website (this will pre-qualify you for NSW Government project works over $1 million and up to $2.5 million).

Note: You can stop here if you’re satisfied with state government funded projects up to $2.5 million. However, if you want to be prequalified to tender for projects valued at over $2.5 million, you can then continue on with steps 5 and 6 below.

  1. Achieve pre-qualification for NSW Government works valued $2.5 million or over in any one of the main work categories.
  2. Once pre-qualified, conduct a self-assessment to determine whether you are able to meet the requirements for Best Practice Accreditation. Once you consider you meet the requirements, you can then submit an application for Best Practice Accreditation (to be accredited for NSW Government works valued at $2.5 million and over).

For more detailed information on this application process, refer to Guidelines for Applicants: Best Practice Accreditation.

In addition, here’s a link to the main NSW Government Procurepoint website page, where you’ll find all the information about the scheme and how to prequalify.

Federal Government Pre-Qualification

The Federal Government pre-qualification scheme is known as The Australian Government Building and Construction Work Health and Safety (WHS) Accreditation Scheme.

The Scheme operates such that only ‘builders’ who are accredited under the Scheme can enter into head contracts for building work that is funded directly or indirectly by the Australian Government, subject to certain conditions.

‘Building work’ can cover a number of activities, including commercial, civil construction and some residential works.

The great news here is that the Scheme is funded by the Australian Government and administered by the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC)*. There is no fee payable to lodge an application or to achieve accreditation. The only costs you’ll incur are consulting assistance and the internal time of your people to address the requirements.

*Note: The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner has been transferred to the Attorney-General’s Department as a result of the Administrative Arrangements Order amendments introduced on 29 May 2019.

Federal WHS Accreditation operates a bit differently to the ISO process – here’s a rundown of how we recommend to approach it:

  • Step 1: Complete and submit the Application for Accreditation via FSC Online. Simultaneously conduct a detailed “Gap Analysis” and develop an action plan to meet the FSC Audit Criteria Guidelines.
  • Step 2: Implement the action plan to address all the identified gaps.
  • Step 3: Have the on-site audit at your office and at least one nominated project site where your WHS management system is being implemented.
  • Step 4: Upon successful completion of the audit process, the FSC will take into account all information relating to the application and the on-site audit results before making a decision to grant accreditation. On acceptance of accreditation, the company’s name will be placed on the Accreditation Register.

Like ISO Certification, initial Accreditation is valid for three years, usually with audits every 12 months. However, unlike the ISO process, upon re-accreditation, they may then grant it for up to six years.

You can find out more information here: http://www.fsc.gov.au/

Other benefits and considerations

Whether it’s government work you’re interested in or not, the management system requirements for government funded projects sets the construction industry benchmark in Australia.

Even if you’re happy with your privately-funded client base, and simply want to expand to win more clients and more projects in the private sector, management systems operating to and certified to benchmarks such as the ISO Standards and Government schemes can be a significant point of difference between your business and your closest competitors.

In addition to being a point of difference when it comes to winning work, effectively implemented management systems improve the value of any business and ensure well-delivered products and services while managing business and project risks.

We’ve helped many businesses on their path to government prequalification

Even though the prequalification process itself needs to be conducted with the government agency, we’ve assisted many businesses with the prequalification requirements, such as their management system development, implementation and certification process.

Here’s what just a couple of our clients had to say about our assistance:

WeBuild Australia Testimonial
Beasy Testimonial
To work out the best approach for your business to be on the path to Government pre-qualification, call us now on 1300 614 897, email us, or book your online FREE strategy session today with one of our Experts.

About the author

Managing Director at ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy

Erica is the Managing Director of ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy. She has been helping businesses with their ISO Certification needs for over 20 years. Erica is also a Certified trainer, implementer and auditor for the ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 standards. Erica primarily heads up the day-to-day operations of the businesses, and is also a current member of the Standards Australia Committees: QR-008 Quality Systems and ISO 9001 Quality Management Brand Integrity.

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