What is CAF Contractor Prequalification?

CAF Contractor Prequalification is being developed to accompany the CAF building certification scheme. It is designed to facilitate CAF building certification at the portfolio level. CAF Prequalification is currently in pilot phase and has not yet been launched to market. Three companies have been awarded CAF Prequalification status through the pilot phase thus far; BIC Services, Consolidated Cleaning Services and ISS Facility Services.

The process of CAF Prequalification involves an assessment of the adequacy of a cleaning contractor’s management and HR systems to facilitate compliance with the CAF 3 Star Standard at the building level, if implemented appropriately.

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 cleaning contractor can provide documents that apply across the organisation just once during the prequalification assessment, so that building certification assessments with that contractor can focus more specifically on the implementation of good and best practices 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 compliant with the CAF Standard, and should not be viewed this way by procurement bodies. Moreover, the cleaning contractor is just one stakeholder in the cleaning supply chain, and procurers of cleaning services have a significant degree of control over the working conditions of cleaners at their assets. It is through CAF building certification that the transparency and accountability of the business practices of the cleaning supply chain can be assured.

How do prequalification and building certification interact?

Using a 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.

PrequalContractor Graphic FAThis includes, for example, appropriate payroll and attendance systems; appropriate training programs for cleaners; and HR policies that are consistent with the applicable legal and regulatory frameworks.

The only way to obtain assurance that management systems are being implemented effectively – that is, that cleaners are indeed being treated fairly and are receiving their full wages and entitlements – is through assessment at an individual building level. 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 conduct at an individual site during building certification (and in a portfolio of assets once the CAF Portfolio Certification scheme has been launched). 

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.

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. audit 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 materialse.g. audit 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.

Prequalification Framework

A cleaning contractor that is CAF Prequalified can signal to existing and potential clients that the company has:

  • adequate management systems in place to provide correct wages and conditions and superannuation, including appropriate record keeping systems;
  • processes to educate cleaners about their workplace rights and conditions of employment
  • policies, procedures and systems in place to provide cleaners with paid and unpaid leave entitlements;
  • systems to verify and monitor visa holders’ right to work in Australia
  • financial viability;
  • systems for the responsible management, monitoring and enforcement of labour subcontracting;
  • adequate WHS systems, policies and procedures to provide cleaners with a safe work environment;
  • mechanisms in place to reduce the risk of worker exploitation, e.g. sham contracting, underpayment, modern slavery, etc., and
  • considered ways in which it can provide cleaners with job security at a change of contract.

Application process

CAF is currently piloting the Contractor Prequalification scheme and expects this to launch to market in late 2021. This page will be updated accordingly.