Building complaints

Complaints about your contract

Sometimes issues arise that are not about defective building work. It’s not uncommon for parties to disagree about what is or is not included in the contract, or how much is owing.

These types of disputes are sometimes referred to as ‘contractual’ matters, as they do not relate to the quality of work performed.

Examples of defective work Examples of contract disputes

Leaking roof

Roof tiles wrong colour
Sticking door Type of door installed is different to what was agreed
Loose handrail Disagreement about cost to change handrails from timber to steel
Cracked floor tiles Dispute about delays in finishing laying floor tiles

Can QBCC help with contractual disputes?

We have no power to:

  • require someone to pay or refund monies
  • make decisions or give orders about your contract
  • force either party to comply with any agreement.

What help will QBCC provide?

Avoid wasting time by checking if our service is right for you before you apply.

If your building contract is still active If your building contract has been completed

Our Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) service will aim to facilitate an acceptable agreement between both parties.

We do not have any power to help with contract disputes, including payments

If we are unable to help you resolve your contractual dispute, we will provide both parties with a letter so you can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) if you’d like their help. QCAT can make decisions about contract disputes. QCAT require you to apply to resolve your dispute through us before they will accept an application to decide a building dispute.

Who can apply to QBCC for help with a contract dispute

Property owners or principal contractors with a contract for domestic building work underway.

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 the full definition of domestic building work in Schedule 1B of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991.

Before you apply

The 3 most important things you need to do before you apply for help with a contract dispute:

  1. Check your contract terms for how you should deal with disputes. Make sure you have followed these closely to avoid breaching your agreement and risking your ability to claim under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme.
  2. Speak to your principal contractor and clearly identify your concerns with them before you apply to use our EDR service. Explain the items you believe are defective, incomplete or contractual. Give them reasonable access to the site to review and address your concerns.
  3. Understand our role. Our role is to try to facilitate an agreement between the parties involved in a dispute. If an agreement is reached, the QBCC is not a party to the agreement and we do not formally document it. If the parties cannot agree, and if there is no issue with the quality of work, we would not conduct an inspection. At the end of the process, both parties will receive a letter from QBCC allowing them to apply to QCAT if they want to commence a building dispute.

Applying directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

QCAT can make decisions about contract disputes.

If you have a contract dispute, QCAT require you to apply to resolve your dispute through the QBCC before they will accept an application to decide a building dispute. At the end of our process, we will issue you a letter so you can apply to QCAT if you’d like their help.

Example scenarios

How to apply

You can apply online.

Make sure you include all the required documents, including your contract. You won’t be able to submit the form without uploading the required documents.

If you need a letter from QBCC to apply to QCAT for help with a contractual dispute, avoid delays by making sure your submission is complete with all required information and documents.