Building Equality Policy - buyers

Find out what the Building Equality Policy is and how to apply it to procurement.

Policy application

In December 2023, the Building Equality Policy was updated. New requirements will apply from 1 January 2024 and 1 July 2024.

See, Building Equality Policy – updates for a summary of changes.

The Building Equality Policy creates training and employment opportunities for women in the construction sector. It applies to all publicly funded construction projects that meet the following requirements:

  • Valued at $20 million or more (excluding GST)
  • Request for Tenders released to market from 1 January 2022

The policy applies to construction projects meeting the threshold requirements regardless of procurement model. This includes projects delivered using the following models:

  • Construct-only
  • Design & Construct
  • Collaborative Design & Construct
  • Partnerships Victoria agreements
  • Alliance
  • Incentivised Target Cost
  • Managing Contractor
  • Other bundled models

The policy is implemented through the Social Procurement Framework. It fulfils the Women’s equality and safety objective.

The policy applies to construction projects (incorporating early works and construction phases). This includes individual projects, public private partnerships, alliance contracts, market-led proposals and joint ventures.

See Construction mandated agencies for the list of Agencies that must comply.

The policy does not apply to:

  • Projects contracted before 1 January 2022
  • Request for Tenders released to market before 1 January 2022
  • Contracts for non-construction services such as:
    • design
    • operation and management
  • Contracts not subcontracted by the head contractor
  • Grants

Values and thresholds listed in the policy

Where the procurement activity involves multiple, discrete packages of work, the total value of the activity is the combined value of all packages of work, and not the value of individual contracts.

The policy applies to individual contracts that are less than $20 million if they form part of a project that is valued at over $20 million.

Consider applying the policy if the estimated project value is close to $20 million (excluding GST). For example, if the total project value is $19.9 million (excluding GST). Contingency spending may increase the value of the project over $20 million.

Procurement planning

For each individual procurement activity valued at or above $20 million (exclusive of GST), buyers must complete a social procurement plan.

Procurement on construction projects with a total project budget of $20 million (exclusive of GST) must include:

See the Social procurement plan template.

Invite offers

Buyers notify potential tenderers of policy requirements and include policy requirements in market approach documents.

Expression of Interest

Buyers notify potential tenderers of policy requirements and include policy requirements in market approach documents.

During the tender process

For construction, social procurement and Building Equality Policy clauses have been embedded in:

The Request for Tender condition terms cover:

  • Definitions
  • Conditions of tender
  • Draft contract and response schedules

Schedule 4B of the Building Equality Policy replaces the Women's equality and safety response schedule 4A.

Buyers should include an overview of applicable procurement-related policies in tenderer briefings.

Evaluate offers

The minimum weighting recommended for Building Equality Policy requirements is 5%. The recommended minimum 5-10% weighting for other Social Procurement Framework objectives is separate.

The three policy actions carry equal weight in the tender evaluation.

Action 1: Meet project gender equality targets

Action 1: Equates to 1/3 of the Building Equality Policy weighting.

Buyers will score tenderers responses in the social procurement commitment proposal.

Scoring of commitments will consider a tenderers ability to meet the Action 1 project gender equality targets for each position.

Action 2: Engage women as apprentices, trainees or cadets

Action 2: Equates to 1/3 of the Building Equality Policy weighting.

Buyers will score tenderers responses in the social procurement commitment proposal.

Scoring of commitments will consider a tenderers ability to meet the Action 2 targets for apprentices, trainees and cadets.

The inclusion of cadets is effective from 1 January 2024

Action 3: Require Gender Equality Action Plans

Action 3: Equates to 1/3 of Building Equality Policy weighting.

Buyers needs to ensure that suppliers submit the following three completed documents as a part of the tender process using the prescribed templates.

  1. Organisation Wide Workplace Gender Audit
  2. Organisation Wide Gender Equality Action Plan
  3. Project Specific Gender Equality Action Plan

Use the templates on Gender Equality Action Plan guidance for tenderers – suppliers

Scoring is either complete or incomplete.

  • Complete means the audit has been filled in correctly and all mandatory actions within the two Gender Equality Actions Plans have:
    • A minimum of one strategy that has been put forward for each mandatory action
    • A name, job title and timeframe has been provided for each action
  • Incomplete – if the audit has not been filled in, or if one or more mandatory actions in the two Gender Equality Action Plans have:
    • No actions listed
    • No name, job title and timeframe allocated to each action

Finalise the contract

Buyers may negotiate the tenderers social procurement and Building Equality Policy commitments. The final commitments will form part of the contract.

Successful or unsuccessful tenderers may request feedback on their response. This should form part of the debriefing process.

Manage the contract

Buyers are responsible for implementing the policy. They must incorporate it into tender and contractual documents.

Once a project starts, buyers must make sure that Contractors meet and report on the policy commitments.

The policy was subject to a transitional compliance period that was scheduled to end on 1 January 2024. This period has now been extended to 1 July 2024.

Non-compliance will be managed using a staged approach.

Guidance of the staged approach will be developed in consultation with key stakeholders. It will foster industry collaboration to achieve change.

The Department of Government Services is responsible for compliance and monitoring of the Building Equality Policy.

Reporting requirements

Buyers need to set up reporting requirements in the Victorian Management Centre.

Buyers will receive the via the following reporting via the Victorian Management Centre:

Action 1: Achieve gender equality targets

Contractors will submit the following reports via the Victorian Management Centre:

  • Total estimated hours of work for each occupation applicable to the project, within 30 days of the contract being awarded, to establish the targets for reporting
  • Actual hours worked for each individual woman employee against the target:
    • Every 6 months
    • At practical completion

Progress against targets will be calculated based on the actual hours worked by women and the total estimated hours of work for each occupation (position).

In calculating total hours for each occupation (position) the following formula is to be used:

Equation showing the actual hours worked by women equals actual hours worked by women divided by the total estimated hours of worke

Hours spent offsite that are directly related to the project delivery can be counted towards the management, supervisory and specialist target.

Only occupations related to construction can be counted towards the Building Equality Policy targets.

Action 2: Engage women apprentices, trainees or cadets

Contractors will submit the the following reports via the Victorian Management Centre:

  • Total estimated hours of work is pre-populated for Action 2 by the Total Deemed Labour Hours from the Local Industry Development Plan commitment. This will establish the targets for reporting.
  • Actual hours worked for each individual woman apprentice, trainee or cadets against the targets.

Hours spent offsite for training and education that are part of the training contract are to be counted.

The inclusion of cadets is effective as of 1 January 2024.

Action 3: Require Gender Equality Actions Plans

Contractors will submit the following reports via the Victorian Management Centre:

  • Every 12 months during the life of the project and at practical completion:
    • Progress against Organisation Wide Gender Equality Action Plan
    • An updated Organisation Wide Workplace Gender Audit
  • Every 6 months during the life of the project and at practical completion:
    • Progress against Project Specific Gender Equality Action Plan
    • Complete a Project Specific Workplace Gender Audit (practical completion only)

Buyers are responsible for ongoing monitoring of the Building Equality Policy commitments and targets. This includes reporting on new, in progress and completed projects.

Help and support

For Building Equality Policy information contact Marcelle West(opens in a new window), Technical Specialist – Building and Construction, Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Building Equality Policy implementation, or project support contact the Social Procurement team.

For Victorian Management Centre reporting information and support contact the Industry Capability Network.

Access the Building Equality Policy - Define terms for further information.

Updated