The Newman Government is aiming to establish the new Queensland Building and Construction Commission by the end of 2013. The QBCC will replace the Building Services Authority.
Tim Mander, the Minister for Housing and Public Works and Member for Everton, has presented the Queensland Building Services Authority Amendment Bill 2013 to the Parliament for consideration.
This is the first step in abolishing the BSA, which has been the governing body for the building and construction industry in Queensland since 1991.
Tim Mander explains:
The board of the QBCC will set the strategic direction and the operational, financial and administrative policies of the commission. It will report to me directly on matters of performance and on issues affecting the building industry and consumers.
This is a significant departure from the system used by the Building Services Authority, where the board served in a purely advisory capacity with no real authority.
We understand one of the intended changes will be to establish an internal review unit to try and minimise the number of disputes going to QCAT. Currently claimants who have been denied recovery in respect of defective building works under the statutory insurance scheme, must go to QCAT to have them reviewed.
We expect more details about this and other initiatives will be forthcoming once a new Commissioner is appointed.
The new board and Commissioner should be in place by January 2014.
The other initiatives are set out in the Government’s 10 Point Action Plan (the first being the replacement of the Building Services Authority) to Reform the Queensland Building Services Authority are as follows:
- Installing a professional governing board with the appropriate committees and establishing an appropriate Commission structure with functional business units, headed by their own general managers.
- Establishing appropriate mechanisms of review.
- Reviewing current domestic building contracts with a view to ensuring a balance between the interests of home owners and builders.
- Reviewing licensing, education, training and compliance.
- Developing improved education and training processes for home owners and consumers.
- In conjunction with the review into the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (BCIPA), develop and implement a rapid domestic adjudication model to fast track the mandated response timelines.
- Retaining the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme under Government ownership and review the current scheme to provide greater definition and clarity.
- Reviewing the role of private certifiers with emphasis on probity, conflicts of interest, quality and an appropriate penalty regime for failure to perform.
- Expanding the licensing role of the new Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
We understand it may take 12 months (from the time the new Commission and governing board is established) to complete the above initiatives.