Reforms were introduced last month to the processes of the Queensland Building & Construction Commission (QBCC). The aim of the reforms is to reduce administrative processes for licensees wishing to resolve a building dispute.
As we detailed in a blog article published last month, amendments to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act have significantly changed the process of resolving payment disputes by streamlining it through the QBCC, producing a simpler, fairer system for adjudication.
Other notable reforms to the QBCC process that are relevant to the building and construction industry are detailed below.
Cutting red tape
Changes include mandatory mediation to be undertaken by disputing parties before the dispute can be heard at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
The QBCC will also be implementing a new Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) system, which was trialled last year and is also expected to reduce the amount of dispute coming before the Tribunal.
Investigative and disciplinary powers of the QBCC
The reforms see greater investigative powers for building inspectors, who will be able to request certain identification documents to obtain details such as date of birth. The QBCC explains that this will allow for better evidence-gathering for offences such as unlicensed contracting, and breaches of financial requirements.
Disciplinary proceedings regarding electricians, pool safety inspectors, plumbers and drainers will also be managed through the QBCC to avoid the lengthier and costly QCAT process.
The QBCC has been granted additional power in taking disciplinary action against head contractors who fail or have repeatedly failed to pay their sub-contractors.
In instances where damage is caused to a property, contractors may also be directed by the QBCC to rectify damage incurred by neighbouring properties.
Changes to the review process
A free internal review system is now also offered through the QBCC for decisions that are deemed ‘reviewable’, reducing the amount of matters required to be brought before the QCAT and cutting costs for the parties involved.
The internal system can be used for decisions concerning licensing, rectification orders, compliance issues, certification investigations, or insurance claims. Decisions pertaining to an infringement notice which has been issued are not eligible to be dealt with internally.
There is a 28-day timeframe within which somebody may apply for an internal review after receiving the initial decision from the QBCC.
Anyone dissatisfied with the result of a decision may apply for the free review, however they are not barred from later applying for the more involved review service run through QCAT.
If you wish to have your claim reviewed by the QBCC or QCAT, it is advised that you seek legal guidance to ensure that the process runs smoothly.
How we can help
If you need assistance with a building and construction dispute, contact us to find out how we can help you get the best possible result with the least possible stress.
Craig Mason – Director