Update from QBCC

Building industry trust account laws expand to ensure subcontractor payments

Trust account laws are expanding from 1 January 2022 to certain private sector, local government and other eligible construction contracts valued at $10 million or more. Trust accounts help ensure Queensland tradies, subcontractors and everyone on the job site gets paid in full and on time, for the work they do. The expansion of the trust account framework to the private sector is part of the next stage of implementation by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). The first stage commenced in March 2021 and applied to state government, statutory authority and Hospital and Health Service projects valued at $1 million or more. Project trust accounts fall under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017.

What you need to know

Head contractors will require a project trust account and may need a retention trust account for eligible private sector, local government and statutory authority projects valued at $10 million or more.
Principals and developers may also require retention trust accounts for cash retentions withheld under these construction contracts.
Subcontractors working on project trust projects will be paid from a trust account

 New requirements for head contractors

From 1 January 2022, head contractors will require a project trust account for eligible private sector, local government and statutory authority projects valued at $10 million or more. The trust account must be separate to the head contractor’s personal or business account and funds for the project must be kept separate from funds of other projects and operating funds. If you are withholding cash retention amounts from subcontractors for these projects, a retention trust may also be required. Anyone required to open a retention trust account will need to complete the retention trust training and withhold eligible cash retention amounts in that account.  

 New requirements for principals or developers

From 1 January 2022, principals or developers may require a retention trust account for cash retentions withheld for eligible private sector projects valued at $10 million or more.  Anyone required to open a retention trust account will need to complete the retention trust training and withhold eligible cash retention amounts in that account.  

 Not sure if you need a project trust account?

The QBCC has developed an online tool to help you determine whether your contract requires a project trust account or if the cash retentions you’re withholding need to be kept in a retention trust account.

New retention trust training requirements

From 1 January 2022, trustees of a retention trust or their nominated account administrator must complete retention trust training. New trustees must complete training within 20 business days of withholding an eligible retention amount. Existing trustees will also need to complete the training. Training will be through webinars in the short-term, while a long-term learning management model is developed. You can register for the training sessions on the QBCC website or nominate an account administrator to complete the training.  

For more information or register for an upcoming QBCC webinar, please visit and monitor the QBCC website for regular updates.