Defective work and disputes

Defective work

If your client believes the work you have done is defective, they can lodge a complaint with us.  

Defective building usually falls into 2 categories:

  • Structural – e.g. leaking roof, leaking shower, health and safety issues
  • Non-structural – e.g. sticking doors or windows, minor cracking of plasterboard.

We may also look at complaints about consequential damage caused by building work.

Complaint timeframes

  • Structural Defective Work The owner can lodge a complaint within 6 years 3 months from when the work is completed and within 12 months of noticing the defect.
  • Non-structural Defective Work As a contractor, you may provide a 6 or 12 month statutory warranty from the date of practical completion for non-structural defects.  Typically, this is part of the contract conditions for new home construction. If the owner notices a defect within the warranty period, they can request (in writing), that you fix the defect. If the defect is not fixed before the expiration of the warranty period, the owner can lodge a complaint with QBCC which must be lodged no later than 12 months from completion of the work.

Complaints made to the QBCC

The following process occurs once a complaint is lodged:

  • Assessment – A QBCC Officer may contact the owner to obtain further information or documents if required.
  • Negotiation – A Building Inspector is assigned to the case and will contact you to attempt to facilitate an outcome. If this is unsuccessful, the QBCC Building Inspector or Technical Consultant may undertake a site inspection
  • Resolution – Following a site inspection, we may issue a direction to you, and any relevant subcontractor, to rectify defective building work. In most cases, this requires a 28-day minimum rectification period.

If you fail to comply with a direction, we may commence disciplinary action in the QCAT or Magistrates Court. For residential construction work (covered by a Certificate of Insurance), the work may be rectified as a claim under the insurance policy. We may recover the amount of an approval claim from you as a debt.  QBCC's Dispute Resolution Process (PDF) provides more information.

Accountability for Subcontractors

Following extensive consultation with building industry associations, the QBCC will ensure subcontractors are held accountable for defective building work they perform.

Complaints we don't investigate

We generally don't investigate:

  • Complaints where the work value is $3,300 and under (including labour materials or GST) – excluding plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, termite management chemical system installation, building design and completed building inspections which can be investigated regardless of the value
  • Complaints about electrical work
  • Complaints about meeting contract conditions or payment disputes. Please refer to BCIPA for more information.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulation 2003 – Schedule 1AA Section 5 outlines the full list of work we cannot help with.

Your privacy

Information you provide during the dispute process is kept confidential but may be subject to access under the Right to Information Act 2009. This includes documents supplied and information gained during the resolution process.

Information is only released in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Right to Information Act 2009.