The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) QBCC is a unique statutory body.  When established in 1991, the role of the QBCC was to licence building contractors and supervisors, issue owner-builder permits, direct the rectification of defecting building work and operate an insurance scheme to assist with the cost or completing or rectifying building work. Today the QBCC has those and many more functions.  Most notably, the functions of the QBCC now include licensing and investigating complaints against building certifiers, licensing plumbers and drainers and investigating complaints of defective plumbing or drainage work and licensing and investigating complaints against pool safety inspectors. 

For each of these core functions the QBCC now performs, it must make administrative decisions about complex and costly matters including—

  • to refuse an application for a licence or permit;

  • to refuse an application for renewal of a licence;

  • to suspend or cancel a licence or permit;

  • that a licensee does not satisfy the minimum financial requirements;

  • to give a direction to rectify or remedy or not to give the direction;

  • about whether building work undertaken at the direction of the commission is or is not satisfactory;

  • a decision that a domestic building contract has been validly terminated having the consequence of allowing a claim for non-completion under the statutory insurance scheme;

  • a decision to disallow a claim under the statutory insurance scheme wholly or in part;

  • about the scope of works to be undertaken under the statutory insurance scheme; and

  • taking disciplinary action against licensed builders, non-licensees, building certifiers, pool safety inspectors and plumbers and drainers.

When made in 1991, the legislation establishing and prescribing the functions of the QBCC was 70 pages long.  The legislation is now 427 pages long and lists nearly 50 administrative decisions that QBCC must make to perform its functions. 

The QBCC is a large organisation employing a large number of staff across Queensland to make the many and often complex administrative decisions it must make to deliver its services.  Of course, amongst its decision makers there are varying levels of experience and technical knowledge and disparate views on matters fundamental to QBCC’s decision making.  Not surprisingly the quality and correctness of decisions varies across the organisation for these and other reasons including deadlines set for decisions, over whelming caseloads and a scarcity of information needed to make a properly informed decision.

Fortunately, the QBCC Act provides mechanisms for internal review and external review by QCAT of many of the administrative decisions QBCC makes.  In addition, the Judicial Review Act provides an avenue to challenge those and any other administrative decision made by the QBCC under the legislation it administers which in addition to the QBCC Act includes—

  • the Plumbing and Drainage Act;
  • the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act; and
  • parts of the Building Act regulating certification and pool safety inspectors.

If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by the QBCC and that decision directly affects you, it is worthwhile considering reviewing the decision.  The possible benefits of doing so include creating the opportunity to negotiate an acceptable outcome with the QBCC and avoiding knock-on effects of the decision if ignored.  For example, a licensee who chooses to not seek review of a decision to give a direction to rectify and to not comply, in addition to loosing rights to review the decision—

  • can be fined;
  • have disciplinary action taken against them; and
  • become liable to QBCC for a payment on a claim under the statutory insurance scheme for the cost of rectification.

Time limits apply so it is important to get advice and to act as soon as possible when the decision is received.

Our construction team includes Brendan Cole.  Brendan is an experienced construction lawyer & commercial litigator who specialises in advising and representing clients operating in the building and construction industry.

Brendan has over 15 years’ post qualification experience servicing the building and construction industry.  Prior to joining Active Law, Brendan was a senior in-house lawyer at the QBCC for 10 years where he obtained extensive experience in proceedings for review of QBCC’s decisions.  So, Brendan is well placed to advise you on and assist you with the review of a QBCC that affects you.

Prior to joining the QBCC Brendan practised in specialist building and construction firms where he gained extensively experience in domestic and commercial building disputes, expert determination and adjudication under security of payment legislation.

Brendan has assisted principals, head contractors, subcontractors, professional services providers and suppliers and owners and is able to quickly gain an understanding of the facts and circumstances of a client affected by a decision of the QBCC.

If you need to challenge a QBCC decision, the Active Law team can assist you.

You can reach us at reception@activelaw.com.au or on (07) 3160 000.


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The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not and is not intended to be, legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.