Complaints between a principal contractor and their subcontractor - scenarios

Defective work by subcontractor

Scenario 1

Peter is a licensed builder with a new home construction underway. Peter’s waterproofing subcontractor Eric hasn’t installed a compliant water stop angle and won’t repair it. Peter believes the work is defective.

Peter is eligible to use our EDR service because Peter is the principal contractor, the work is domestic building work and the contract has not been completed.

What outcome can Peter expect?

One of our Resolution Services officers will review Peter’s submission and contact both Peter and Eric to try to facilitate an agreement. If they reach an acceptable agreement they can move on and the case will be finalised. The QBCC is not a party to the agreement and we do not formally document it.

If Peter and Eric cannot agree, a QBCC Building Inspector will arrange to inspect the work. If the subcontractor is found to be responsible for defective building work, our Building Inspector may issue both Peter and Eric a formal notice to fix the work (called a Direction to Rectify).The Direction to Rectify will appear on the QBCC online licence search for both Peter and Eric. Peter and Eric will both have 28 days to fix the work. At the end of the process, both parties will receive a letter from QBCC allowing them to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) if they want to commence a building dispute.

Scenario 2

Eric subcontracted to a large commercial builder to install a new roof on an office building. After the contract was completed, the builder notified Eric of a water leak in the reception area. Eric has inspected the work and does not believe he is responsible for the roof leak.  Eric is ineligible to apply to use our EDR service because he is not the principal contractor, the work was commercial and not domestic building work. Eric’s dispute is also ineligible because the contract has been completed.

Contract and payment disputes (e.g. payments, variations, delays)

Scenario 1

Ramesh was hired to repair and repaint a residential driveway. Ramesh did the repairs himself, and contracted the painting to a specialist painting company. Halfway through the job, the painters submitted a variation for extra cost to cover more paint. Ramesh does not agree with the variation, and the painters have stopped work.

Ramesh is eligible to apply to use our EDR service because Ramesh is the principal contractor, the work is domestic building work and the contract has not been completed. 

What outcome can Ramesh expect?

One of our Resolution Services officers will review Ramesh’s submission and call both Ramesh and the painting contractor to try to facilitate an acceptable agreement. If this happens, the case will be finalised. The QBCC is not a party to the agreement and we do not formally document it.

If both parties cannot agree, as there is no issue with the quality of the work, we would not conduct an inspection. The case will be closed and both parties will receive a letter from the QBCC allowing them to apply to QCAT if they want to commence a building dispute. 

Ramesh may then wish to seek legal advice and/or apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for further assistance.

Scenario 2

Rebecca is a carpenter who installed cabinets in the kitchen of a residential home. Rebecca has submitted a claim for payment under her subcontract to the builder but has not received payment within the 10 days required under her agreement.

Rebecca is ineligible to apply to use our EDR service because she is not the principal contractor. Rebecca has other options for pursuing unpaid amounts.