Building complaints

Complaints before your contract has been completed

Our Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) service may be able to help if you’re caught in a disagreement with your principal contractor over:

  • defective building work
  • incomplete building work or
  • a contractual issue.

This free service offers a fast way for home owners to work with the contractor to reach an agreement while construction is still underway. Our EDR service shouldn't be used in place of seeking your own independent building inspection, building advice or legal advice.

Who can apply

Property owners who have a contract with a contractor for domestic building work.

For us to consider your EDR request, your contract 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 management chemical system installation, building design and completed building inspections, which can be investigated regardless of value and hydraulic design work valued over $1,100. 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.

If your issue has arisen after your contract was completed, you'll need to follow the process applicable to your situation - defective building work, defective design services, building non-completion or unstatisfactory termite and pre-purchase inspection services.

When EDR can help

Our EDR service is most successful where both parties are willing to participate and work towards an agreement. We can help you avoid a lengthy and potentially costly dispute if you are willing to work with our experienced staff to look for solutions you can both accept.

When EDR can't help

  • 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 management chemical system installation, building design and completed building inspections, which can be investigated regardless of the value and hydraulic design work valued over $1,100
  • The contract has been terminated or completed
  • The contract is between two parties other than a home owner and a principal contractor
  • The contractor isn't responsible for the issue (e.g. natural disaster, lack of owner maintenance etc.)

Is our EDR service right for you?

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

Disputes about the quality of the work (e.g. defective work)

Our expert team can:

  • contact both parties to try to facilitate an agreement
  • only if this is unsuccessful and if defective work is alleged, we may inspect to decide if the work  is defective or not
  • issue a formal notice to the contractor (called a Direction to Rectify) for any defective work if required

 

The QBCC has no power to:

  • direct how work should be fixed
  • supervise repairs
  • fix defective work ourselves.

Disputes about your contract (e.g. payments, incomplete work, delays)

Our expert team can:

  • work with both parties to try to reach an agreement about contract issues (e.g. payments due, approval of variations, incomplete work).

 

The QBCC has 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.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can make decisions about contract disputes. As part of our EDR service, we will issue you a letter so you can apply to QCAT if you’d like their help. You cannot apply to QCAT until you have completed our EDR process.

Before you apply for our EDR service

The 3 most important things you need to do:

  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. The QBCC is not a party to the agreement and we do not formally document it. Our role is to try to facilitate an agreement between the parties involved. If both parties cannot agree and if there is no issue with the quality of work, we will not conduct an inspection. Both parties will receive a letter from QBCC allowing them to apply to QCAT if they want to commence a building dispute.

Example scenarios

What will happen after we receive your EDR request

One of our Resolution Services officers will contact both you and your principal contractor. If your dispute is eligible for our EDR service, an attempt will be made in this first phone call to facilitate an outcome.

Our aim is to quickly facilitate an acceptable agreement between both parties. If this does not occur and only if there is alleged defective work, one of our Building Inspectors may inspect the work. During the inspection, the Building Inspector will investigate each dispute item and determine if the work is defective or not and decide what subsequent action is required. 

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 these documents.

What you can do to help the EDR process

Have all of your information handy when you apply and when our Resolution Services officer contacts you. As the EDR process is about facilitation, be open and willing to reach an agreement.

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

Even if your dispute is not eligible for our EDR service, QCAT require you to apply to resolve your dispute through the QBCC before they will accept an application.

At the end of our process, we will issue you a letter so you can apply to QCAT if you’d like their help.