Defective work and disputes
Complaints before your contract has been completed
If you’re caught in a disagreement with your homeowner client over defective building work, incomplete building work or a contractual issue, we may be able to help you with our Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) service.
This service offers a facilitation-based approach to resolving disputes while construction is still underway.
From 1 June 2015, we will be extending our EDR service to also cover these types of disputes between a principal contractor and their subcontractors.
If your client's issue has arisen after your contract was completed, they'll need to follow the process applicable to their situation - defective building work, defective design services, building non-completion or defective termite and pre-purchase inspection services.
Our EDR process shouldn't be used in place of seeking your own independent legal advice or contract administration services.
When EDR could assist
For us to consider your EDR request, the contract with your client needs to be for domestic building work and more than $3,300 in value (including labour, materials and GST) - excluding plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, termite managment chemical system installation, building design and completed building inspections, which can be investigated regardless of the value. Domestic building work includes things like:
- Building a house or duplex
- Renovating, altering, extending or repairing a home, which can include a residential apartment or unit
- Landscaping, paving, driveways, fencing, garages, carports, swimming pools and other associated works
- Supplying lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, water supply, sewerage and other services and facilities.
You can find a comprehensive list of domestic building work in the Schedule 1B - Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991.
When EDR can't assist
If any of these conditions apply to your situation, we can't assist you through the EDR service:
- The work is commercial or industrial building work
- The contract value is $3,300 or less (including labour, materials and GST) - excluding plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, termite managment chemical system installation, building design and completed building inspections, which can be investigated regardless of the value
- The contract has been terminated or completed
- The contract is between two parties other than a homeowner and a principal contractor
- You, as the principal contractor, aren't responsible for the issue (e.g. natural disaster, lack of owner maintenance etc.)
- Contractual issues within QCAT jurisdiction
Before you lodge an EDR request
It's important to speak to your client before contacting us. Try to resolve the problem by listening to their concerns and attempt to reach an amicable solution.
What will happen after you lodge an EDR request
When we receive your EDR request it is assigned to one of our Building Inspectors. He will contact both you and your client. An attempt will be made in this first phone call to facilitate an outcome for your dispute.
If this is unsuccessful and if practical, he will visit the site as soon as possible. During the site inspection, our Building Inspector will again attempt to facilitate an agreement between you and your client.
If an agreement can’t be reached, our Building Inspector will assess work that your client feels may be defective or incomplete. If necessary, he may issue a Direction to Rectify if he decides you're responsible for defective building work.
It’s our intention that this whole process will generally be completed within 28 days.
How to lodge an EDR request
The EDR process can be lodged by either the homeowner or the principal contractor. Choose from one of the following methods:
- Calling us 24/7 on 139 333
- Submitting a request online
- Faxing your request to (07) 3225 2999
- Posting your request to:
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission
GPO Box 5099
Brisbane QLD 4001
- Visiting one of our Customer Service Centres.
What you can do to help the EDR process
The process will run more smoothly if you have all of your information handy for when you lodge your dispute and when our Building Inspector contacts you. This includes the details of the client you’re in dispute with and the contract you’ve signed with them.
As the EDR process is about facilitation, be open and willing to reach an agreement and, if necessary, attend a site meeting.
If a site meeting does become necessary, we’ll need you to bring along any documentation our Building Inspector may request (e.g. building contract, variations, plans, specifications, evidence of payments, certificates, approvals etc.).
What to do if you're unhappy with the outcome of the EDR process
We offer an Internal Review process through our Internal Review Unit. If you're unhappy with our decision to issue you with a Direction to Rectify, you can lodge a review request. You have 28 days from when you became aware of our decision to lodge your Internal Review request.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)
You can apply for a QCAT decision when you receive a decision from the QBCC, whether it is the original decision or the internal review decision, within 28 days of receiving that decision.
You may also be able to lodge an application with QCAT to help resolve your building dispute. For further information on either of these processes, contact QCAT on 1300 753 288 or visit their website at www.qcat.qld.gov.au.
The Queensland Ombudsman may review ‘administrative decisions’. For further information, contact the Queensland Ombudsman on 1800 068 908 or visit their website at www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au.