QBCC Accountability for Subcontractor Defects Policy

Background

Under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (Act) the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has the power to direct a contractor to rectify defective building work for which it is responsible.  Until recently the QBCC pursued head contractors for all defective work, including work carried out by subcontractors.  Now, under the new QBCC Accountability for Subcontractor Defects Policy (Policy) adopted on 1 June 2015, subcontractors will be held directly liable to remedy any defective work which they have carried out.

Outline

Under the Policy, the QBCC will pursue a subcontractor which has carried out defective work as a priority and a direction to rectify defective work will only be issued to a head contractor if the responsible subcontractor fails to rectify.

The process for giving a rectification notice will apply to defective work carried out by a subcontractor as it does for a head contractor, that is:

  • a person may submit a complaint to the QBCC regarding building work which it considers defective;
  • the QBCC will assess the work and make a determination as to whether it is defective and requires rectification; and
  • if the work is defective, the responsible subcontractor will be directed to rectify.

The Act grants a statutory right to any "consumer" (being a non-contractor for whom building work is carried out) or any owner or occupier of land adjacent to building work to submit a complaint to the QBCC regarding defective building work. While other persons (including head contractors) do not have this right under statute, the QBCC has adopted a general policy that it will investigate complaints from head contractors.

Disciplinary action, including the suspension or cancellation of a building licence, may apply to any contractor who fails to comply with a direction to rectify.