On 1 December 2013 the Queensland Building Services Authority became the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). This update overviews some important changes which are now in effect.

New Licensing Body and Laws

The relevant Act and Regulations which govern the QBCC as the new licensing regulator are now called the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act) and the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulation 2003 (Regulations).

New exemptions regarding the requirement to have a licence when carrying out building work

Generally, if you carry out building work for which you are not appropriately licensed, you will not be entitled to full payment for that work and you can not claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) (BCIPA).

The QBCC Act now provides:

  • an unlicensed subcontractor that carries out building work for a trade contractor (not being a builder) that holds the appropriate class of licence under the QBCC Act is not in breach of the Act
  • an unlicensed contractor that enters into a contract to carry out building work does not breach the law if the work is carried out by an appropriately licensed subcontractor, and the work is not residential construction work or domestic building work.

Work that is now not considered 'building work' under the Regulations

The new Regulations now provide that the following will not be considered building work (and therefore do not require a licence):

  • the construction, extension, repair or replacement of a water reticulation system, sewerage system or stormwater drain, other than works connecting a building to a main
  • the construction, maintenance or repair of a road or a tunnel for a road, including an area of land developed, or to be developed, for the public use of driving or riding of motor vehicles, other than a driveway to a private property.

The new Regulations commenced on 15 November. (These amendments were urgently rushed through to protect civil contractors as a result of the Ooralea Developments decision).

What this means for contractors and subcontractors

If you are a subcontractor, a QBCC licence will not be required for carrying out building work as long as the trade contractor to whom you are subcontracted to holds the appropriate licence for that work.

If you are a contractor, a QBCC licence will not be required for building work which forms part of your scope of work as long as you engage an appropriately licensed subcontractor to carry out that part of building work (unless the work is residential construction or domestic building work).

In both instances, you will remain entitled to full payment for work completed and you will still have rights under BCIPA.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.