On 1 December 2013 the Queensland Building Services Authority (QBSA), Queensland’s governing body for the Building and Construction Industry, was replaced by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). There is plenty of information floating around in press releases and internet forums discussing these changes. Most of it makes perfect sense – to anyone holding a law degree. The question is, should you care? What will these changes really mean on a day-to-day basis for contractors holding building and construction licenses in Queensland?
The Boring Stuff – What Will Change?
The restructuring of the building industry regulations in Queensland will be rolled out in the form of a ten-step action plan which will be completed by the end of 2014:
- Replace the QBSA with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
- Establish the QBCC structure: Appoint a professional governing board (with appropriate advisory sub-committees), a commissioner as chief executive, and functional business units headed by respective general managers.
- Establish an internal review unit with the objective of reducing the number of applications for review of QBSA decisions made to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
- Develop an improved suite of domestic building contracts to better balance the equity between consumers and builders.
- Review the current licensing and compliance system to better manage licensees and enforcement.
- Improve the education and training available for home owners and consumers.
- Consider a rapid domestic adjudication model, similar to that for commercial disputes pursuant to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004, to fast track and resolve disputes between consumers and builders.
- Review the role of private certifiers with an emphasis on probity, conflicts of interest, quality and an appropriate penalty regime for failure to perform.
- Undertake a review of the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme to provide greater definition and clarity to consumers.
- Consider expanding the licensing role of the QBCC to include all licensed tradespersons, registration of plumbers and drainers, pool safety inspectors, and related building industry occupations.
What Does All of that Actually Mean for You?
For the majority of BSA license holders, it’s business as usual under the QBCC. Your current BSA license card is still valid and your license number will remain the same. Annual License fees are still payable, and all other requirements placed on license holders are still in force.
One change to note is the tweaking of section 42 of the Queensland Building Services Authority Act, which had gradually expanded over the years and created a barrier to doing business efficiently. Under the old Section 42, landlords and property developers needed to hold a BSA license to contract for commercial work even when all the work was being carried out by licensed subcontractors. The section has been modified to remove this requirement in cases where all relevant work is carried out by licensed sub-contractors.