The case of TJ King v Qld Building and Construction Commission [2015] QSC 79 relates to the interpretation of the former Queensland Building Services Authority Act 1991 (Qld).  It also concerns directions to rectify issued to a contractor who relocated a house.

Facts

Mr Terry John King (trading as TJ King House Relocators) (applicant) relocated a house. The Queensland Building Services Authority (now the Queensland Building and Construction Commission) (respondent)) issued a direction to rectify uneven stumping and defective work relating to bearers and the stumps pursuant to section 72 of the former Act. The applicant applied to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have that direction reviewed. After negotiations with the respondent the proceedings were withdrawn. 

In December 2013 the respondent issued a second direction to rectify, inter alia, the same defects. 

The applicant challenged the second direction, seeking an order for statutory review. The grounds of review advanced by the applicant were:

  • the work carried out by the applicant was not building work as defined by the former Act;
  • the respondent's discretion to issue a direction could only be exercised once; and
  • a direction to rectify under section 72(1) of the former Act could only be given to rectify work the subject of the contract between the builder and the homeowner.

Decision

In the Queensland Supreme Court, Dalton J reviewed the 'rudimentary' contractual provisions that defined the relocation works and held that they were in respect of 'building work' within the definition contained in the former Act. Moreover, as these relocation works were broader than the 'loading, unloading or transporting of a building' they were not excluded from the definition of 'residential construction work' which was itself a subset of building work.

Her Honour determined that there was no reason to limit the power conferred on the respondent to issue directions to rectify in relation to the same building work or the same defect because in the past it had considered complaints by the owner but declined to issue a direction.

Her Honour held that the language of section 72 of the former Act merely required the person receiving the direction to rectify to have carried out the building work. It did not need to have been carried out pursuant to a contract.