The ABCC as it exists today was established by the BCIIP Act on 2 December 2016. The history of the agency stretches back to the Cole Royal Commission into the building and construction industry.
The Cole Royal Commission was established in August 2001 and tabled its final report in March 2003. It found that the building and construction industry was characterised by a widespread disregard for the law, and that existing regulatory bodies had insufficient powers and resources to enforce the law. The Cole Royal Commission recommended the establishment of an independent commission to monitor conduct in the building and construction industry.