From 1 July 2015, the Queensland Building and Construction
Commission (QBCC) will apply stricter penalties
for contractors who commit building offences under the
Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991
(Qld) (QBCC Act) or the Domestic Building
Contracts Act 2000 (Qld) (DBCA).
The introduction of increased penalties is aimed at ensuring
compliance with building standards and to reduce the level of
offenders continuing to work in the building industry. QBCC Acting
Commissioner, Kellie Low, indicated that the changes were being
introduced because "[i]nadequate supervision is the main
contributor to defective building work... [and under the new
system] contractors will be encouraged to closely supervise work
and ensure it complies with relevant standards."
What are the new changes?
The new changes mean that there will be an increased number of
demerit offences as well as an increase in the number of demerit
points attached to these offences. Some offences that will attract
the highest penalty of 10 demerit points include when:
a contractor carries out building work without a nominee
unauthorised fire protection work is carried out
a licensed contractor assists an unlicensed contractor to
undertake building work in breach of section 42 of the QBCC
a contractor carries out defective or incomplete work and fails
to rectify the work when directed to do so by the QBCC.
The increase in demerit points attributable to certain offences
is, in some cases, quite significant. For example, failure to
rectify defective work currently carries two demerit points, but
from 1 July the penalty will jump to 10 demerit points.
It is important to note that there are also a range of financial
penalties associated with each of these offences that will continue
to apply under the QBCC Act.
What does this mean for you?
It is important for head contractors to ensure that they are
engaging appropriately licensed subcontractors to undertake
building work, otherwise they may find themselves unwittingly in
breach of the QBCC Act. All contractors should ensure that their
subcontractors have an obligation under their subcontracts to
comply with the requirements of the QBCC Act to help mitigate their
risk of non-compliance with the QBCC Act.
It remains that accrual of 30 demerit points in a three year
period will result in cancellation of a contractor's licence
and the contractor will be disqualified from holding a licence for
three years. If that same contractor accumulates a further 30
demerit points within 10 years of the first disqualification, then
they will be disqualified for life. This means that for long-life
building contracts, head contractors have even more reason to
regularly request proof of licence from its subcontractors to
ensure that the subcontractor remains licensed to avoid any breach
of the QBCC Act.
These increased penalties could have significant impacts on
contractors if they are not fully abreast of their obligations in
relation to the new and existing offences under the QBCC Act.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or
change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute
for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's
specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of
interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice
relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named
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