QCAT dispute resolution – QBCC disputes

What’s the procedure for dealing with QBCC disputes about license suspension and what are your rights when it comes to QCAT dispute resolution?

The QBCC can suspend your license if it believes you do not have the financial means to continue trading or you breach your license conditions in other ways. These can include: –

  • Carrying out unlawful building work;
  • improperly using a license (for example, using another person’s license number);
  • failure to pay Home Warranty Insurance;
  • subcontract and commercial building contract breaches;
  • fit and proper person breaches (documents, police reports or recordings that show a lack of honesty and integrity can be used against you);
  • advertising breaches;
  • QCAT dispute resolution.

If a client believes that you are in breach, they can submit a Notification of Offence form about the issue online. They need to do this within 21 months of the offence date or 9 months from when they notify the QBCC.

It is important to note that the QBCC doesn’t investigate every complaint. They will focus on those that meet one or more of their priorities. These include that the offence is serious, involves public safety issues, represents a pattern of poor behaviour, targets vulnerable groups and would not be better resolved through other means such as private mediation between the parties.

If you’re facing a suspension, it’s important to be aware of your rights under the legislation, so let’s look more closely at that. If you haven’t done so in a while, get familiar again with the details of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991. The commission may suspend or cancel a license if you’ve contravened a condition outlined in section 35 or 36 of the Act.

In normal cases, before suspending or cancelling your license, the commission must give you 21 days from the service of the notice to make written representations about the matter. They must consider these before acting and any cancellation or suspension must be put in writing with clear reasons for the decision. The cancellation or suspension must also comply with the QCAT Act, section 157 (2). You can appeal the decision with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. For instance, in the matter of AB Hill Construction Pty Ltd v QBCC, the QBCC initially cancelled the builder’s license because they had had failed to notify the commission that their net tangible asset position had fallen by more than 30% and they failed to pay all of their undisputed debts on time. QCAT determined that the company’s prospects of success were not low and they overturned the QBCC’s finding subject to some reporting conditions imposed on the builder.

The QBCC can suspend your license immediately if they reasonably believe that there could be serious financial harm to other licensees, employees of other licensees, consumers or suppliers of building materials or services.

If you are facing a possible license suspension or cancellation, contact Len Watt for advice and legal support. You may have more options available than you realise. If you need assistance with any QBCC disputes or require QCAT dispute resolution give the team at Becker Watt Lawyers a call on 07 3269 4888 or email info@beckerwatt.com.au