When you need a contract
Whether you're building a house for a homeowner, or working in the commercial sector on highrises, you need a contract between yourself and your client or subcontractor. This includes head contracts, subcontracts and sub-subcontracts (i.e. contracts between subcontractors).
If any of your jobs involve domestic building work priced at over $3,300, you need to use a written contract. If the work is over $20,000, you must also ensure your client is given a signed copy of a QBCC-approved Consumer Building Guide.
What is domestic building work?
Examples of domestic building work include:
- building a new detached dwelling (including a duplex)
- building a structure associated with a home such as a shed, garage, carport, retaining structure, driveway, fence, workshop, swimming pool or spa
- removing or re-siting a dwelling intended to be used as a residence
- renovating, extending, altering, improving (including painting and installing services) or repairing a home, duplex or unit
- refitting a kitchen or bathroom, and
- landscaping, paving, site work, etc.
Retention monies in contracts
Retention monies in construction contracts will no longer be limited to the usual five per cent of the contract price, if a ‘special-purpose vehicle’ is one of the contracted parties.
A special-purpose vehicle is an entity established to carry out a public-private partnership, and is declared by the Queensland Treasurer by gazette notice.
These recent amendments to the QBCC Act don’t affect standard subcontracting arrangements between principal contractors and subcontractors, in which retention monies under subcontracts remain limited to 5 per cent of the contract price, and the parties cannot contract out of this provision.
Which contract to use?
You have a few choices. You can use one of our contracts, which covers most situations and has the added benefit of being compliant with the legislation. Alternatively, you can use a contract developed by an industry association but you must check that it complies with current laws. If you opt to use an interstate contract, be aware that they don’t usually meet requirements under our legislation.
A warning about using your own contract
If you want to use your own written agreement, it’s essential you get legal advice first. You risk prosecution, fines, or financial loss if you go ahead without making sure that it complies with the Queensland legislation.
Consumer Building Guide
You must give your client a copy of the Consumer Building Guide to read and sign before you sign a contract. It provides general information to help them understand their rights and obligations.
- New Home Construction Contract (PDF) for the construction of an entire home
- Level 1 - Renovation, Extension and Repair Contract (PDF) for renovations, extensions and routine repairs on existing homes for contracts $3,301 to $19,999
- Level 2 - Renovation, Extension and Repair Contract (PDF) for renovations, extensions and routine repairs on existing homes for contracts $20,000 and over
- Natural Disaster Repairs Contract (PDF) designed to help you organise repairs to a home, duplex or home unit after a natural disaster
- Small Building Projects Contract (PDF) for domestic building projects not exceeding $3,300
- Contract for Demolition of Residential Premises (PDF) for demolishing homes severely damaged by natural disaster
- Consumer Building Guide (PDF)