What does the QBCC do?
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) wears a number of hats.
- Regulator – If there is a residential building dispute between the general public and a builder, the QBCC is there to assist in making decisions around that dispute.
- Licensing Authority – The QBCC determines if someone has the appropriate qualifications to be granted their relevant license (e.g. building or trade license)
- Insurance Arm – Queensland is reasonably unique in that insurance is covered, if needed, for the rectification of defective work (e.g. if the builder is unable to complete work or goes into bankruptcy). The QBCC administers this.
When should I approach the QBCC?
As a member of the general public, you will only ever interact the QBCC when you have a residential building dispute. If you are concerned about defective construction work and cannot reach a resolution with your builder, you can make a complaint to the QBCC. The Commission will then send out a representative to look at the item and issue a Direction to Rectify.
As a builder, you have a lot more interaction with the Commission. If a Statutory Insurance Policy is required, the builder pays for that premium to the QBCC on behalf of consumer.
What happens if I am concerned about defective items?
If you are concerned about a defective construction item, you should make a complaint to the Commission. It’s important that you provide as much detail as possible about the item. A QBCC representative will attend the property with both you and the builder, to review and discuss the item.
The representative will decide if the item is defective building work, or any other issue such as a contractual issue. If it is defective building work, they will issue a Direction to Rectify for the builder to fix it.
What is a Direction to Rectify?
A Direction to Rectify is a formal notification by the QBCC to the builder, stating that there is an item to be fixed. It will identify the item, give a brief reasoning as to why it is considered defective construction, and provide a timeline for the builder to fix the item. Generally, the timeline is 28 days, but can be extended upon request by the builder, particularly during Covid-19 or around Christmastime, when delays are expected.
The Commission must try to balance the interests of both the builder and the consumer. They must make sure that the builder has enough time to fix the item, but that the consumer isn’t being disadvantaged for a long period of time.
What happens if I do not agree with the giving or not giving of a Direction to Rectify?
Any decision made by a Government body can be reviewed by a person who is affected by that decision. Decisions can be reviewed under the QBCC Act.
If, as a consumer, you want to dispute the QBCC for not issuing a Direction to Rectify, you have 28 days to request for an internal review. This means that a different department in the Commission will review the decision. If the outcome is the same, you may do an external review with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
If, as a builder, you believe that the Direction to Rectify is not appropriate, you can also request a review of the decision. The review can either be an internal review by the QBCC or and external review by QCAT.
What is the difference between an internal and an external review?
An internal review is conducted by a different department in the QBCC. It is quick, cost-effective, and can sometimes achieve a positive result (if the decision is turned). However, quite often the decision still stands after an internal review. From experience, we find that an external review by QCAT can be far more beneficial.
What happens if the defective works are not fixed by the builder?
- The builder will get an opportunity by the consumer to fix the work.
- If it still not adequate, the consumer can contact the QBCC for another onsite review and meeting between the three of them.
- If there is still no resolution, it then progresses to the insurance arm. The QBCC will organise for someone else to fix the item and look for the builder to refund the money spent.
If you need to contact the QBCC, Becker Watt Lawyers are your trusted legal advisors. With over 10 years of experiencing dealing with the Commission, our QBCC lawyers provide you sound legal advice in transparent English, without the complicated jargon. Book your initial consultation HERE.