What is CAF Building Certification?

CAF Certification is an independent assessment of a building’s cleaning supply chain against our rigorous 3, 4 and 5 Star Standards. We are currently taking applications for our benchmark 3 Star Standard, which incorporates these key assessment areas:

CAF Icon Labour 1

Wages, job security and the right to work in Australia.

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Responsible Contracting

Ethical pricing, responsible subcontracting and transparency of contracts.

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Workplace Health & Safety

A safe working environment including relevant insurances and WH&S procedures.

CAF Icon FinancialViability
Financial Viability

The financial checks and balances undertaken when engaging cleaning contractors.

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Worker Engagement

Education and consultation with cleaners including freedom of association.

CAF Icon Remediation

Investigation and resolution of compliance issues throughout the cleaning supply chain.

View our 3 Star Standard

Why should you certify your building with CAF?

A CAF Star rating on a building provides assurance to investors, building owners and their tenants that cleaning services at that building are being procured, managed, and delivered in a manner that foregrounds respect for cleaners’ labour rights. From July 2021, CAF and ISPT will partner to develop and pilot a portfolio certification  model across ISPT’s office buildings and shopping centresThe launch of portfolio certification to market is expected to take place in 2023. For more information on portfolio certification, see the CAF/ISPT announcement.

Through CAF Certification, stakeholders benefit in the following ways:

For property owners and investors, CAF:

  • ensures that you and entities in your supply chain aren’t inadvertently supporting unlawful labour practices;
  • minimises time spent assessing tenders and managing contracts;
  • drives the delivery of cleaning services that attract and retain tenants;
  • is an anti-slavery mechanism which can be included in Modern Slavery Act statements; and
  • reduces the risk of being involved in a contravention of workplace laws through accessorial liability provisions under section 550 of the Fair Work Act.

For building managers, CAF:

  • provides tools to deliver and maintain competitive and compliant cleaning contracts to property owners;
  • ensures that entities are not inadvertently supporting unlawful labour practices; and
  • reduces the risk of being involved in a contravention of workplace laws through accessorial liability provisions under section 550 of the Fair Work Act.

For cleaning contractors, CAF:

  • contributes to a sustainable future for the cleaning industry by balancing price and performance instead of rewarding ‘rock-bottom’ pricing; and
  • recognises those participants that are adopting better and best practices within the cleaning industry.

For cleaners, CAF:

  • ensures correct wages, rights and entitlements have been applied in the workplace
  • helps drive improvements in labour standards; and
  • gives a voice in upholding quality cleaning and decent work.

For tenants, CAF:

  • provides quality cleaning by experienced cleaners who are respected and safe at work and are receiving their minimum legal pay and entitlements;
  • minimises the risk of potential reputational damage for significant tenants where exploitation of cleaners is uncovered;
  • is an anti-slavery mechanism which can be included in Modern Slavery Act statements; and
  • demonstrates ethical sourcing strategies and company due diligence over indirect supply chains.

Simple steps to CAF Certification

(1) Supply Chain Assessment and Worker Engagement

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CAF will conduct a supply chain assessment of the nominated building or precinct against the CAF 3 Star Standard. This will include an assessment of procurement practices, contract management practices, employment policies and procedures, and a sample check of payroll compliance.

Concurrent to the desktop supply chain assessment taking place, CAF undertakes a worker engagement assessment with cleaners at the building. This includes face to face meetings in paid time, a survey about cleaners’ working conditions, and the nomination of a CAF Representative.

CAF’s worker engagement processes and remediation processes are codified in the CAF Worker Engagement Protocol and the CAF Remediation Procedure which have been developed in consultation with stakeholders from government, academia, business, the cleaning workforce and their union. CAF’s unique approach to worker engagement is considered best practice as it relies on direct verification from cleaners on workplace compliance and aims to equip cleaners with the tools and support to assist in maintaining ongoing compliance beyond the initial assessment.

Where issues are raised by cleaners through the worker engagement process that require further investigation, relevant stakeholders will be guided through the CAF Remediation Procedure to ensure that appropriate investigation and remediation occurs in a manner that protects cleaners’ anonymity and mitigates the risk of negative repercussions for speaking up. The CAF Remediation Procedure is based on best-practice methods to provide:

  • assurance of remediation,
  • access to justice for cleaners,
  • improvements to employment practices, and
  • other proactive risk mitigation strategies to ensure that labour rights violations reported by workers are addressed in a manner that promotes sustainable compliance.

(2) Assessment

CAF has a Certification Panel comprised of workplace relations experts from employer/business groups, unions, academia and government. The Certification Panel is appointed by the CAF Board and is responsible for determining whether a building has qualified for a CAF Star Rating.

In practice, the CAF Certification Panel will consider the supply chain assessment report, the worker engagement report and any other relevant material (i.e. remediation reports related to issues raised through worker engagement) and on this basis provide advice on any steps that may be required to be taken pre- and post-certification to demonstrate compliance with the CAF Standard. Stakeholders will also receive copies of the above mentioned reports.

Where remediation of issues discovered through the supply chain assessment or the worker engagement process is required to achieve certification, CAF will direct stakeholders on what evidence to provide to CAF demonstrating that the requirements have been met.

(3) Certification

Once a CAF 3 Star rating has been awarded, the applicant will be provided with a certificate and access to CAF branding (subject to the terms of the CAF Licensing Agreement and trademark usage guidelines). CAF will work with stakeholders at the building to promote certification across CAF’s channels.

Certification is valid for the length of the contract subject to ongoing compliance with the CAF Standard and CAF Terms and Conditions. Where a contract change has occurred that retains the incumbent supply chain, CAF Certification will continue with some additional minor checks.

(4) Ongoing Compliance

In order to maintain certification, stakeholders must demonstrate ongoing compliance for the duration of the cleaning contract. This will help to ensure that compliance is not simply determined at a moment in time but is sustainable and verifiable throughout the certification period. CAF’s ongoing compliance tools and mechanisms also ensure that there are clear processes in place that allow stakeholders to raise and address any issues that impact on cleaners’ labour rights that may arise during the certification period. 

While CAF has a number of processes in place to maintain oversight of ongoing compliance, the primary method of verifying this is through annual health checks. The check includes worker engagement, evidence of implementation of CAF recommendations, and a payroll compliance check. 

(5) Fees

Cost of Certification

The annual CAF Certification fee encompasses the assessment, investigation and remediation process, as well as ongoing education and advisory activities with all stakeholders (owners through to cleaners), as well as any promotional activities throughout the year.

The first-year application fee is higher due to the detailed nature of the assessment that takes place . There are small additional fees associated with CAF Certification, mainly related to the worker engagement component. You can find more information on these costs in the following section. All fees are exclusive of GST.

Building category Application fee (year 1) Subsequent years (until change of contract)
Small building
(NLA* up to 20,000 sqm)
$11,000 (members)
$12,500 (non-members)
$5,000 (members)
$6,500 (non-members)
Mid-sized building
(NLA* 20,001 to 40,000 sqm)
$13,000 (members)
$15,100 (non-members)
$7,000 (members)
$9,100 (non-members)
Medium-large building
(NLA* 40,001 to 80,000 sqm)
$16,000 (members)
$18,700 (non-members)
$9,000 (members)
$11,700 (non-members)
Large building
(NLA* 80,001+ sqm)
$19,000 (members)
$22,600 (non-members)
$12,000 (members)
$15,600 (non-members)
Small Precinct**
(total NLA* under 100,000 sqm)
$17,000 (members)
$20,000 (non-members)
$10,000 (members)
$13,000 (non-members)
Large Precinct**
(total NLA* 100,000+ sqm)
$20,000 (members)
$23,900 (non-members)
$13,000 (members)
$16,900 (non-members)

* NLA = Net Lettable Area
** A precinct is two – four buildings under the same contract (for precincts that include more than four buildings, the certification fee will be priced on application).

Building category Application fee (year 1) Subsequent years (until change of contract)
Small centre
(GLA* up to 20,000 sqm)
$12,000 (members)
$13,800 (non-members)
$6,000 (members)
$7,800 (non-members)
Mid-sized centre
(GLA* 20,001 to 50,000 sqm)
$13,000 (members)
$15,400 (non-members)
$7,000 (members)
$9,100 (non-members)
Medium-large centre
(GLA* 50,001 to 99,999 sqm)
$15,000 (members)
$17,400 (non-members)
$8,000 (members)
$10,400 (non-members)
Large centre
(GLA* 100,000+ sqm)
$17,000 (members)
$20,000 (non-members)
$10,000 (members)
$13,000 (non-members)

* GLA = Gross Lettable Area

Note on additional costs for worker engagement

CAF Worker Engagement video and survey session and worker meetings (paid by applicant/owner)

Each year, cleaners will be paid for 1 hour of CAF worker engagement activities. This includes 15 minutes as part of their shift to watch the CAF video and complete the CAF survey, and 45 minutes for a paid-time.

CAF Representative Allowance (paid by applicant/owner)

The CAF Representative will receive an allowance to compensate them for performing additional CAF duties and to provide recognition of their role to represent and advocate on behalf of their colleagues. The CAF Representative Allowance hourly rates for July 2021 – June 2022 are set out below:

Number of cleaners at the site  Allowance payable 
1 to 10 employees   $1.30 per hour, up to a maximum of $49.50 per week 
11 to 20 employees  $1.68 per hour, up to a maximum of $63.69 per week 
Over 20 employees  $2.05 per hour, up to a maximum of $77.88 per week 

For example: a part-time CAF Representative that looks after 20 employees will have an allowance of approx. $1,743 per annum.

CAF Representative training (paid by cleaning contractor)

CAF Representatives receive training to equip them to undertake their role in promoting ongoing compliance at a CAF-Certified building. The CAF Standard allows for paid release for up to two training sessions per year. For most cleaners, this will be 2 x 4-hour shifts, or a total of 8 hours of paid training. The cost of releasing a CAF Representative for 8 hours amounts to approximately $241 each year (incl. super).

Sub-contracting of core cleaning services

Where there is sub-contracting of core cleaning services, the Certification fees will increase to account for the additional assessment relating to any subcontractors. In this case, the certification fee will be priced on application.

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Prequalification and Building Certification

How do Prequalification and Building Certification interact?

Using a CAF Prequalified Contractor alone is not enough to demonstrate that cleaners’ labour rights at an individual building are being respected. This is because the Prequalification assessment process is focussed on management systems, policies and procedures – checking that the right systems are in place at head office to facilitate compliance at site level.

The only way to obtain assurance that management systems are being implemented effectively – that is cleaners are being treated fairly and are receiving their full wages and entitlements – is through CAF Building Certification. This involves:

  • independent third-party engagement with cleaners, which CAF does through our unique worker engagement mechanism; and
  • independent third-party assessment of the supply chain including time and wages checks.
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Prequalification is not a certification or an endorsement of the cleaning company; rather it is a way for a cleaning company to demonstrate that they have the right systems in place to enable the provision of decent work to cleaners at a building level. Assurance of the latter can only be provided through CAF Building Certification.

View a detailed comparison of contractor prequalification vs building certification

The table below outlines the different kinds of checks undertaken in a CAF assessment for contractor prequalification vs building certification.

Examples of components assessed CAF Contractor PrequalificationCAF Building Certification
Payroll and attendance system
e.g. Assessment of payroll system, policies and procedures and adequacy of controls within the payroll system and attendance system to ensure that correct wages, tax, and super are paid.e.g. assessment of employee time and wage records to verify correct payroll implementation.
Personal leave entitlements
e.g. Assessment of the company’s personal leave policy to ensure that it is aligned with minimum legal requirements. e.g. worker verification that personal leave entitlements are administered according to the policy.
Induction and traininge.g. Assessment of employee induction and training materials.e.g. assessment of training records for the site;

e.g. worker verification that cleaners are receiving sufficient training to do their job safely.
Bullying and harassment
e.g. Assessment of policy and procedure to support workers to raise grievances and/or instances of bullying and harassment. e.g. worker engagement to assess whether the workplace is free of bullying and harassment and/or to assess whether policy and procedure is implemented effectively.
Provision of chemicals, equipment, materials and PPEe.g. Assessment of systems in place to provide, replace or repair chemicals, equipment, materials and PPE. e.g. Worker verification that cleaners have access to all the chemicals, equipment, materials and PPE they need.

CAF Prequalification is designed to create efficiencies in the CAF audit process where a cleaning contractor has contracts in place at several sites undergoing CAF Building Certification, or where a property owner will seek certification of a portfolio of assets. A CAF Prequalified Contractor can provide documents that apply across the organisation just once during the Prequalification assessment, so that Building Certification assessments can focus more specifically on the implementation of good and best practice policies and procedures at the site level.

Is CAF Contractor Prequalification an alternative to CAF Building Certification?

No, CAF Contractor Prequalification does not provide assurance that a contractor is fully compliant with the CAF Standard, and should not be viewed this way by procurement bodies.

Furthermore, exploitation occurs due to failings within the entire supply chain – this includes cleaning contractors and procurers. CAF Building Certification assesses the entire supply chain and remedies issues at all levels to enable exploitation-free workplaces.

Want to know more?

“The management team at 720 Bourke is thrilled to have achieved a CAF 3 Star Standard certification. This collaborative achievement demonstrates our commitment to improving labour standards across the cleaning industry. We at 720 Bourke are pleased to support best-practice initiatives and ensure our on-site cleaning staff are working in a safe environment with fair work conditions. We would like to congratulate all parties involved.”
JLL – 720 Bourke Precinct Management

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