Changes to the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill

Published: 24 November 2017

The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Bill received assent on Friday, 10 November. While some of the provisions in the Act became law on that day other changes, such as the introduction of Project Bank Accounts and the changes to BCIPA, are still awaiting commencement by the government. However, this cannot occur until a new government is in place following the election. 

The following changes are now in effect for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act

Licensing changes

  •  A broader definition of influential person for a company
  • One-year time period from ‘relevant company event’ for excluded individuals has increased to two years
  •  Harsher penalties (including a maximum of one-year imprisonment for some offences) for:o   Unlawful carrying out of building work
    • Carrying out of building work without a nominee
    • Unlawful carrying out of fire protection work
    • Engaging/directing an unauthorised person for fire protection work.
  •  Some minor changes to the rules around advertising, i.e. can’t contain false or misleading statements.

Building contracts changes

  • Definitions for ‘defects liability period’ and ‘practical completion’ have been added which will apply even where a contract doesn’t provide for them
  • New offence for avoidance of contractual obligations causing significant financial loss
  • New offence for not including mandatory contract conditions in a building contract and a new offence for including prohibited contract conditions in a building contract. These will be defined by Regulations which are still to be written and passed by parliament.

QBCC changes

  • Changes to the QBCC Board
  • All requests for rectification of building work or remediation of consequential damage must now be given to the QBCC within 12 months after the person becomes aware of the defective work or damage
  • The QBCC may issue a direction to rectify or remedy up to six years six months after the work was completed (up from six years three months)
  • New offence for delaying or obstructing compliance with a direction to rectify or remedy
  • Can request an extension of time to comply with the direction to rectify or remedy
  • New ground for taking disciplinary action for contravening the BIF Act
  • QBCC inspectors will be referred to as investigators and there are changes to their powers
  • Changes to processes relating to inspectors/investigators
  • New offence for impersonating an investigator.

Minor changes have also been made to the Building Act 1975, including to remove investigations for pool fencing from this Act – it now comes under the QBCC Act. Similar changes have been made to the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 to place investigations under the QBCC Act along with other minor changes.