Changes to Building & Construction legislation could see builders banned for life with no recourse
Upcoming changes to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act could soon see builders banned for life with no recourse.
Before the change of government this year, changes were passed in the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 which could see builders that are caught up in a failed building company banned for 3 years for one event and life for two events.
The relevant portion of the legislation has passed the Queensland Legislative Assembly but has not yet been assented to by the Governor of Queensland; this is the last step before it becomes a law. We understand that it is currently under review by the new state government.
Prior to these changes the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 provided that where a person was a director, secretary or influential person in any type of company that went into liquidation or that became bankrupt, they could receive an automatic ban from holding any QBCC licence (except for a site supervisor licence) for 5 years. This was known as a Relevant Event. If that person was involved in two such Relevant Events they would be banned for life.
The previous legislation, however, recognised that there were circumstances where it would not be in the interests of justice to simply ban a person from holding a QBCC licence where either:
- the Relevant Event was outside the persons control, or
- they took all reasonable steps to prevent the Relevant Event from occurring.
Where these circumstances apply and certain criteria are met, a Permitted Individual application can be made. These applications have allowed for many people to continue to trade in an industry that is their livelihood, where they would have otherwise been banned.
We have acted for a variety of people in these Permitted Individual applications, and became concerned for the rights of our clients in the building and construction industry when we became aware that the changes had been put forward.
We believe that these changes are an extraordinary erosion of natural justice and will lead to unfortunate outcomes for those people who get caught up with rogues or belligerent head contractors who use their larger bargaining position to not pay their contractors for work performed.
If you hold a QBCC licence or intend to hold one in the future, these changes could have a serious impact on your business. We have written to the new Minister for Public Works and Housing to voice our concerns (excerpt provided below) and would like to hear from anyone that may also be interested in making a submission in this regard.
Please contact Jeremy Streten of our office at Jeremy@smslaw.com.au if you wish to discuss this further.