Building Reform 

The Building and Other Legislation Amendment Bill amendments was introduced into the Queensland Parliament this week. This proposed legislation provides clarity on the head contractor licensing exemption and has expanded powers for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

Head Contractor Licensing  

Currently under Section 42 of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission ACT 1991 (QBCC Act) provides provision, unless exempt under scheduled 1A, a person must not carry out, or undertake to carry out building work unless they hold an appropriate licence. However under section 8, schedule 1A, an unlicensed head contractor was able to enter into building contracts and arrange for building work to occur.  

The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (BIFOLA Act) sought to repeal this licensing exemption for head contractors. The Property Council has sought to advocate for the reinstatement of this exemption. 

This proposed legislation seeks to reinstate the section 8 exemption in all circumstances except when complex projects or high-risk work is involved that impacts safety. In these instances, the Bill will allow for head contractors to engage with the QBCC to obtain a licence, but still allow for most unlicensed head contractors to continue entering building contracts to procure building work.  

This Bill also includes provision for a regulation-making power to prescribe additional contracts and subcontracts that require a retention trust account. This will address circumstances when a head contractor relies on the licensing exemption.  

Other provisions in this Bill: 

  • Immediate suspension of a QBCC licence expanded to circumstances where a response to serious harm or financial loss to any person is required. 
  • Support contemporary consumer expectation when it comes to the efficiency of buildings such as: 
  • ‘ban the banner’s provision will be amended to encourage use of solar energy and ability for homeowners to install panels without developer covenants and body corporate by-laws, especially when it comes to matters of aesthetics.  
  • Expanded use of greywater to be utilised in cooling towers for air-conditioning and other purposes such as flushing toilets.  

This Bill has now been referred to the Transport and Resources Committee for further consideration.