In brief – More exclusions to prohibition against
performing unlicensed building work
Building licences are no longer required for commercial property
developers, for preparing tenders or for public-private
partnerships or government projects following the commencement of
the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act
Government releases action plan following inquiry
In May 2013 the Queensland government released a "Ten Point
Action Plan" for the reform of the Queensland Building
Services Authority in response to recommendations made by a 2012
Queensland Building and Construction Commission replaces
Queensland Building Services Authority
As of 1 December 2013 the Queensland Building and Construction
Commission (QBCC) replaced the Queensland Building Services
Authority (QBSA) as the regulatory body for the building and
construction industry in Queensland.
The QBCC has the same functions as the QBSA, but its governance
is now controlled by the board which provides directions to a
commissioner who replaces the former general manager.
Exceptions to general prohibition against unlicensed building
The QBCC Act prescribes additional exceptions to section 42 of
the QBCC Act, which prohibits a person from carrying out, or
undertaking to carry out, building work unless that person holds a
contractor's licence of the appropriate class.
Prior to the 1 December 2013 amendments, section 42 meant that a
wide range of people were required to hold licences, including
property developers and entities wishing to submit tenders on
projects, even if they did not intend to carry out any building
work of their own.
Anyone who breaches section 42 of the Act is not entitled to
make a profit from the work, and is only entitled to recover its
own reasonable costs of the cost of supplying materials and labour
for the work (but not the person's own labour).
Commercial property developers no longer required to hold
Under the new QBCC Act, an unlicensed person may enter into a
head contract to carry out commercial building work, provided the
work is to be carried out by an appropriately licensed
The exclusion relieves commercial property developers of the
requirement to hold a building licence where they will be engaging
a licensed contractor or contractors to carry out the work.
There is, however, a positive obligation on the unlicensed
person to ensure that no work is carried out by anyone without an
Contract managers will still need to be licensed, as contract
management services are deemed to be building work under the QBCC
Act. The new exclusion therefore does not allow unlicensed entities
to administer or manage contracts or to supervise building
The exclusion also does not apply to residential building
Building licence not required for preparing tenders
The amendments also state that a licence is not required for
preparing tenders or offering to carry out commercial building
This will allow interstate contractors and other unlicensed
entities to tender on Queensland projects before obtaining a
licence under the QBCC Act, and will therefore reduce barriers of
entry into the industry.
Again, this exception does not apply to residential building
Exclusion for public-private partnerships and government
The QBCC Act also prescribes new licensing exceptions for work
carried out under public-private partnerships and on certain
prescribed government projects.
Exclusions do not alter strict licensing requirements to carry
out building work
While the amendments may provide some relief for property
developers, unlicensed entities wishing to tender on projects and
for certain government projects, strict licensing requirements
remain and the consequences of carrying out (or undertaking to
carry out) unlicensed work remain severe.
Care should be taken before entering into contracts to ensure
that appropriate licences are held.
The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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