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8 February 2019
In December 2018, Master Builders surveyed members, asking for their experiences with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s (QBCC) enforcement.
The key themes that emerged from the responses were:
- Enforcement is too biased in favour of the consumer. Contractors are spending a lot of time and money to address unwarranted claims or to undertake work that isn’t a rectification in order to avoid problems with the regulator.
- More support is needed for payment disputes.
- Financial monitoring of licensees needs to be strengthened.
- More timely resolution of complaints.
- More consistency and transparency in enforcement.
- More reasonable audit and information request processes.
- Inspectors need more building experience.
- Builders shouldn’t be held solely accountable. All licensed trades need to be held liable for their defective work.
There must be more emphasis on non-licensed and out of scope trading.
The impact of the QBCC’s current practices are the obvious costs on time, money and lost work. Also of concern is the long-term damage that it does to otherwise successful businesses and business owners. People are leaving the industry or not growing their businesses.
In not holding the right people to account the underlying problems are not being addressed.
There was near unanimous support for a system where contractors are requested to rectify defective work before being directed to rectify. It is seen a way of resolving disputes more quickly and helping those who want to do the right thing to keep their record clean. It’s also an opportunity to allow ‘grey areas’ to be tested and improve sub-contractor accountability.
Respondents felt that an early dispute resolution system that addressed both defective work and payment would have a positive impact on their business. It would help consumers and provide the opportunity to maintain more effective relationships. For contractors, it would have the added benefit of enabling disputes to be resolved while not tying up money.
Only a small percentage of respondents had had any experience with reporting a non-conforming product to the QBCC. There were no examples where action was taken against the manufacturer.