Training a key focus for Master Builders in safety month

John GelavisThe West Australian
Master Builders Executive Director John Gelavis.
Camera IconMaster Builders Executive Director John Gelavis. Credit: The West Australian

Master Builders Association of Western Australia (MBAWA) was established in 1898 when 20 local builders met to discuss key issues influencing their day-to-day operations. Over the past 123 years, MBAWA has led the way as the peak industry association for the building and construction industry in the state.

One of the main reasons MBAWA has stood the test of time is due to the highly valued, specialised building industry services it provides its many members in WA. One of those services is a high-quality and industry-relevant training program, continually reviewed and updated to include the latest legislation, codes and standards.

MBAWA is a registered training provider (RTO 5101) with the Training Accreditation Council WA. We take great pride in offering training courses that meet the needs of employers, employees, contractors, supervisors and managers in the building and construction industry.

Whether it’s entry into the industry, safety, technical, legal, technological or business skills training, the diversity of our courses will benefit many within the industry, those looking to join and, ultimately, the Western Australian public.

Continuing the safety theme in National Safe Work Month, many young people will be considering a career in the building and construction industry, which will involve either work experience, Try-A-Trade, or even a pre-apprenticeship.

Safety on building sites is paramount and one of the main legal requirements of entering a building site is the possession of a CPCCWHS1001 – Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry, or as we know it, the White Card.

To secure a White Card, specific training must be completed that ensures the mandatory work health and safety competencies are understood.

MBAWA delivers White Card training in WA, which can be delivered face-to-face or via blended learning, for example online and face-to-face (or via video) practical elements.

MBAWA provides members with other forms of safety training, including Provide First Aid Refresher, Manual Handling, Leadership in WHS for Supervisors and Managers, Asbestos Awareness Course, identify requirements for safe tilt-up work, operating elevating work platforms and more.

To support training in the state’s building and construction industry, the Construction Training Fund (CTF) was established. This is achieved through the collection of a levy that applies to all construction projects in WA.

The CTF is assisting Western Australians in the construction industry to create a skilled and sustainable workforce by providing subsidies to reduce the cost of training.

As an approved bulk biller for the CTF, MBAWA can assist eligible participants in accessing up to 80 per cent of funding for the cost of training.

If you’re looking to enter the building and construction industry, or you are currently within the industry seeking further education and development, contact MBAWA on 9476 9800 or visit and click on Training Courses.

Q&A with MBA Housing and Construction Director Jason Robertson

The Question

I’m just about to embark on getting my new house built and a friend mentioned building variations. If I want to change something, I can easily do that, surely?

The Answer

We get this question a lot, it’s very common.

In the broadest sense, the term ‘variations’ is where changes occur to what has been agreed to in signed building contracts. They can be complex and certainly confusing to navigate through.

For example, you have selected a particular type of kitchen benchtop and at a particular point in the build you decide it was the wrong choice aesthetically and want to change to something else.

If you decided to inform your builder of this – that you seek to make a change – you would most likely be liable for a variation to the original contract and your builder is well within their right to charge you more for it, especially if they have already purchased the original benchtop.

A couple of key points – firstly, the original signed contract is a legal document and making changes to it can often be an expensive process.

Variations can often be a result of a simple miscommunication or interpretation of what’s stated in the contract. A great example is with provisional sum figures – it may be that the figure put in for the tapware is far below what you want when the time comes. Poring over the details and good communication is key in avoiding such issues.

Equally, it’s very important to note that the builder also can request variations – there may be an unforeseen issue with the site and, in the current climate we are in, there may well be the need for variations with product availability, delays and cost increases.

The key takeaways are to try and be as thorough as you can be with what you want and talk things through with your builder.

Variations, like communication itself, can be a two-way street safely travelled with the right understanding and patience.

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