Don't cut corners as HomeBuilder deadline looms

18 December 2020

As the HomeBuilder 31 December deadline looms it’s essential to remember your legal obligations.

To be eligible for the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, home owners must have a signed contract by 31 December 2020. Then there is another three months, until 31 March 2021 to be eligible for the $15,000.

In trying to help their clients meet these deadlines, builders must ensure that they are not entering into domestic building contracts that do not comply with the law (Schedule 1B of the QBCC Act).

There are a number of serious offences in the legislation that fall on the builder, not the owner, if the contract does not comply with the QBCC Act. Fines can be in the order of $13,000 and between four and 10 demerit points.

The main areas of concern include:

  • No or incomplete plans – The builder is required to properly scope the work to be carried out and state this in the contract.  A builder cannot enter into a contract without a defined scope of work.
  • No or limited foundations data – The builder is required to obtain foundations data prior to entering into a contract.

    The only exception to this is if the builder can show that they were not legally allowed to enter the site to obtain the foundations data before entering into the contract AND the contract guarantees that there will be no increase in the contract price because of the foundations data. It is not enough to say that the owner does not own the land at that time. The builder will need to show that they have made reasonable attempts to enter the land.
  • Stating a Date for Practical Completion that does not take into account delays to materials and/or subcontractors that can be reasonably foreseen. No extension of time is permitted for delays that are reasonably foreseeable or beyond the reasonable (legal) control of the builder.
  • Including allowances for Prime Cost Items and/or Provisional Sum Items that have not been calculated with reasonable care and skill, having regard to all the information reasonably available when the contract is entered into.

Master Builders recommends that you do not give any assurances or guarantees to your clients that they are eligible for the HomeBuilder grant. There are many conditions that must be met for eligibility that are beyond the control of the builder.

It is possible that a client could be entitled to recover the value of the Grant from the builder if they can show that the builder represented that the Grant was available to them and/or that the builder did something to make the client ineligible for the Grant.

It is best for the builder to keep yourself separate from the Grant and refer your client to the Queensland government’s HomeBuilder website.

Got more questions? Members can contact the Members Legal team if they need further advice.

Major Sponsors

BUSSQ Bluescope QLeave Bluescope