Construction Reform: The new Queensland Building and Construction Commission

06 September 2013 Topics: Construction and infrastructure, Litigation and dispute resolution

The Queensland Building Services Authority Amendment Act 2013 (Act) took effect on 29 August 2013.

The objectives of the legislation are to:

  • replace the Queensland Building Services Authority with a new Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC);
  • establish a governing board, who will report to the Minister for Housing and Public Works; and
  • provide for the appointment of a commissioner to replace the existing general manager.

While the QBCC board will perform largely the same functions as the current Queensland Building Services Authority board, there will be some key differences. Notably, the QBCC board will have sole responsibility for setting the strategic direction and the operational, financial and administrative policies of the QBCC, whereas under the current QBSA structure, this responsibility is exercised in conjunction with the general manager.

It is expected that the QBCC and the board will be established by 2014.

The Act implements the first two points in the government’s 10 point action plan to overhaul building regulation in Queensland. Following its establishment, in accordance with the remaining points identified in the plan, the QBCC will seek to:

  • establish an internal review unit;
  • develop an improved suite of domestic building contracts;
  • undertake a review of the licensing and compliance system and implement a regulated penalty system for illegal and defective works;
  • develop education and training processes for home owners and consumers;
  • develop and implement a rapid domestic adjudication model to fast track domestic building disputes in conjunction with the current review of the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld);
  • retain the current Queensland Home Warranty Scheme and consider an extension of the level of coverage;
  • review the role of private certifiers to clearly define their roles and responsibilities and to enforce an appropriate penalty regime for failure to perform; and
  • expand the licensing role of the QBCC, including a proposed transfer of all currently registered building trade contractors to the new commission.

Implications

The establishment of the QBCC signals an important change to the structure of the building industry’s regulatory framework. While the Act does not give rise to any immediate regulatory or compliance changes that building industry participants need to be aware of, the Government has flagged that a number of significant changes may occur following the establishment of the QBCC board. Organisations in the building industry are urged to keep track of those changes to ensure future compliance with building laws and regulations.

For more information please contact Lisa Valentine on (07) 3231 2939 or Kate Robertson on
(07) 3231 2962.

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