Key things you need to know about new industry laws

The Building Industry Fairness and Other Legislative Amendments Act 2020 (BIFOLA) has a broad sweeping range of reforms, developed as part of the Queensland Building Plan.

With these new laws kicking in for the building and construction industry on 1 October 2020, what are the key changes for those working in service trades?

Supporting statements

From 1 October 2020, some head contractors will be required to submit a supporting statement with payment claims they submit to a principal or developer.

Supporting statements in a snapshot:

  • are only required when a head contractor engages subcontractors, and not required if their construction contract is only with a resident domestic building owner
  • is a written statement – check out our supporting statement template
  • must be submitted at the same time as a payment claim
  • tells the principal or developer that subcontractors have all been paid, and if not, reasons why payment is outstanding
  • failure to provide a supporting statement with a payment claim may attract a penalty of up to 100 penalty units for head contractors
  • providing false or misleading information in a supporting statement may also attract a penalty of up to 100 penalty units.

For a principal or developer who receives a payment claim from a head contractor without a supporting statement, payment must still be made to a head contractor as per the payment schedule.

Failure to do so by the principal or developer – even without a supporting statement – is an offence as discussed below.

Find out more about supporting statements.

Non-payment of scheduled amounts

All requests for payment (payment claims) must receive a response, either by:

  • making payment – if there’s an agreement between the ‘claimant’ and ‘respondent’ over the amount being claimed OR
  • giving a payment schedule – in instances where the respondent doesn’t intend to pay the full claimed amount or doesn’t agree with the claimed amount.

Failure by respondents to provide a payment schedule, in instances where payment of the full claimed amount is not made, became an offence under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (BIF Act).

BIFOLA goes one step further by introducing a new offence for respondents who provide a payment schedule, but then fail to pay in accordance with the schedule.

Find out more about responding to payment requests.

Interstate and/or New Zealand licensees

To improve information sharing between licensing authorities, BIFOLA has introduced a number of reforms relating to QBCC licensees who also hold building licences in certain other jurisdictions.

From 1 October 2020, the QBCC may now consider whether a licensee’s interstate or New Zealand licence has been cancelled or suspended as part of the ’fit and proper’ licence requirements.

Queensland licensees must notify the QBCC if they are given an interstate or New Zealand licence or if an existing interstate or New Zealand licence is suspended or cancelled. This applies to QBCC contractor, nominee supervisor and site supervisor licences.

Failure to notify the QBCC these events can result in a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units.

Additionally, the QBCC may notify other licensing authorities in the event of a QBCC licensee having their Queensland licence:

  • cancelled
  • suspended
  • restored
  • when a suspension ends
  • when insolvency occurs.

The notification may result in further action by the interstate or New Zealand licence, which is at the discretion of that authority.

Find out more about new notification requirements regarding interstate and New Zealand licensees.