The Queensland State Government has officially passed legislation to abolish the Queensland Building Services Authority (QBSA) and replace it with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), in January 2014.
Tim Mander, the Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works, explains in a recently released media statement the reasons for the change and the benefits that they will provide.
“It is vital we have a building regulator that allows the industry to thrive and that adequately balances the interests of contractors and consumers.
The change from the QBSA to the QBCC will signal a significant change and improvement in the services provided by the building regulator.
Implementation of this plan will give both consumers and builders confidence,” Mr Mander said.
Darrell Kake, an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Litigation at Quinn & Scattini, explains his thoughts on the significance of the change.
“To date the QBSA has regulated all licensing and compliance aspects in the construction industry.
The new QBCC will align with the review of the Security of Payment Legislation and general licensing of building work, potentially also impacting upon management in the way that they deal with construction claims and disputes, so that management meet regulatory requirements.
It is expected that the reform will also extend to those businesses in the civil, energy and resources sectors,” Mr Kake said.
An article in the South Burnett Times quotes an example of one of the criticisms which exist with the current QBSA, namely that “currently there is no safety blanket for sub-contractors if builders or developers go into administration.”
To address such criticisms, as part of the review conducted by the Queensland State Government they developed a ’10-Point Action Plan’ which they plan to implement in stages as part of the changes. The first two actions are anticipated to be completed before the end of the year and the remaining eight actions within 12 months from the date of appointment of the governing body.
The 10-Point Action Plan, includes -
- Replacing the QBSA with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).
- Establishing 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.
- Establishing 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).
- Developing an improved suite of domestic building contracts to better balance the equity between consumers and builders.
- Reviewing the current licensing and compliance system to better manage licensees and enforcement.
- Improving the education and training available for home owners and consumers.
- Considering 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.
- Reviewing the role of private certifiers with an emphasis on probity, conflicts of interest, quality and an appropriate penalty regime for failure to perform.
- Undertaking a review of the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme to provide greater definition and clarity to consumers.
- Considering 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.