Damage to your property from neighbouring work
From time to time building work being carried out on one property can cause damage to the property or a neighbouring property. This may be considered consequential damage.
If a property owner is unable to resolve the issue directly with the contractor, the QBCC may be able to help. You will need to submit a residential building work complaint with us.
What is consequential damage?
Consequential damage is:
- damage to a residential property at a building site or next to a building site
- caused by, or because of, carrying out building work at the building site, regardless of any intention, negligence or recklessness of the person carrying out the work.
Damage may include:
- the impairment of drainage at the property
- the undermining of a fence, retaining wall or other structure along the boundary of the property.
- the compromising of the structural integrity of a building, swimming pool or wall on the property.
- the cracking, lifting or cratering of a driveway or pathway on the property.
- water penetration of the property.
- infestation of the property by termites.
The residential property can be:
- a single detached dwelling.
- a duplex.
- a lot or the common property for a community titles scheme under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997; or
- a lot or the common property for a building units plan or a group titles plan under the Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980.
How we may help
When you lodge a complaint with the QBCC we will review the complaint and assess whether you meet the eligibility to qualify for our dispute resolution service.
What we can do
If your situation qualifies, our expert team can:
- contact both parties to try to facilitate an agreement
- if required, inspect your complaint items to determine if they are consequential damage caused by building work carried out your property or a neighbouring property
- if required, issue the contractor with a direction to remedy the consequential damage
- provide a letter to both parties to pursue the matter through QCAT if unresolved though our dispute process.
Our dispute resolution service should not be used in place of seeking your own independent building inspection, building advice or legal advice.
What we cannot do
The QBCC has no power to
- direct how work should be fixed
- supervise repairs
- fix the damage ourselves.
Eligibility for our help
We may be able to help you with consequential damage if you are a:
- owner or occupier of the property next door – You own or occupy the property which is located directly next door to where building work being carried out has caused damage to your property
- body corporate of the property next door – you represent the body corporate of a residential complex which is located directly next door to where building work being carried out has caused damage to common property
- authorised agent – if you have authorised someone to act as your agent, they are eligible to lodge on your behalf.
We cannot pursue the matter unless you can provide details of who you think caused the consequential damage on the complaint form.
You can try looking on the sign on the building site to get a name and contact number for them.
You must first attempt to resolve the matter directly with the contractor. If this is unsuccessful then we will assess your complaint.
Lodge a consequential damage complaint
We recommend you lodge a complaint to us as soon as you can.
To start the process, we need to know who is responsible for the work. If you don't know the contractor's name, try looking on the site sign in front of the building site.
Once you identify who the contractor is, discuss your concerns with them. Request that they rectify the damage for you.
If speaking with the contractor does not resolve the issue, ask them for their contact details and put your concerns in writing to them. You will need a copy of this letter when you lodge your complaint.
You will need to provide us with a copy of the letter you sent to the contractor.
It may be helpful to gather photos of the damage to your property, thought this is not a requirement.
We want to process your complaint quickly and you can help us by making sure you take the time to read all instructions. Entering the right dates and values is essential and helps us process your complaint quickly.Be sure to let us know if you are concerned about any dangerous or unsafe items.
To apply online you can:
- login or register for myQBCC
- navigate to the complaints and disputes tab
- scroll down to find the Residential and commercial construction complaint form
- click the ACTION arrow and choose to start a new form.
- complete form
- upload digital copies of your supporting documents
You can choose to download and complete a manual form. You can find the manual form below in the related resources section.
To lodge your application you need to provide us with:
- the completed form
- all supporting documentation.
You can lodge the application:
What happens next?
Once you have lodged your complaint, we will review your case to see if we can help. You will receive an email confirming receipt of the complaint, which provides your unique case number.
If we can help you, we will progress your case through our dispute resolution process for consequential damage.
If we are unable to help or if the issue cannot be resolved through our dispute resolution service, we will provide you with a letter that allows you to apply to the QCAT if you would like their help.
Dispute resolution process for consequential damage
After you lodge your consequential damage complaint to the QBCC we will register the dispute and assign it to an Resolution Services officer.
Our officer will assess the complaint and contact both parties to discuss the complaint and obtain further information or documents if required. Both parties will be encouraged to try to resolve the complaint without further QBCC involvement.
Have all relevant information handy when you apply and when our Resolution Services officer contacts you. As the process is about facilitation, be open and willing to reach an agreement.
If the items cannot be resolved over the telephone, the property owner will be asked to give the contractor access to inspect and assess the damage. The property owner and contractor will be asked to meet on-site to review the damage and decide a plan for the repair of any agreed items.
The QBCC considers reasonable access to be:
- a time agreed to by you and the contractor
- during normal working hours
- for full consecutive days if required
- providing a minimum of 48 hours' notice has been given by the contractor.
If access is denied
Some property owners decide they do not want to allow the contractor to enter their property, to inspect and/or fix the work. Be aware this will affect our ability to help.
- Refusing to give the contractor reasonable access means your complaint cannot continue.
- We will not direct the contractor to remedy any damage to the property and your case will be closed.
We will provide both the property owner and the contractor with a letter allowing either party to apply to QCAT to commence a building dispute.
The contractor will then carry out all agreed repairs.
Reasonable access must again be provided to the contractor to carry out this work.
If there are any items that cannot be resolved, a QBCC building inspector will be assigned to the case and will contact both parties to attempt to facilitate an outcome. If this is unsuccessful, the building inspector may undertake a site inspection.
When conducting an inspection, the QBCC building inspector will carry out a visual inspection only. This will involve visually observing each complaint item.
Invasive investigations are not undertaken by the QBCC to determine the cause of any alleged damage.
The inspection is also not intended to be a complete inspection of the whole building or dwelling.
At the site inspection the building Inspector will:
- inspect the items of complaint and investigate the relevant information
- assess responsibility for any damage identified
- decide what subsequent action is required.
In some cases, a decision may not be finalised at the inspection. In this instance, we will contact both parties as soon as possible after the inspection.
Following a site inspection, we may issue the relevant contractor and any relevant subcontractors a direction to rectify the damage.
In most cases, the period for which rectification work must be undertaken will be 35 days.
Property owners must provide reasonable access for contractors to undertake rectification work.
- it will appear on their public record
- fines and demerit points also apply
- the QBCC may also commence disciplinary action in the QCAT or Magistrates Court.
At the end of our process, we will provide both parties with a letter allowing them to apply to QCAT if they would like their help.