Lodge a defective work complaint | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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Building work incomplete?

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Lodge complaint as a property owner

If you have a disagreement about defective or unfinished work that you are unable to resolve, you can lodge a complaint with the QBCC.

We understand your time is important and we want this process to be as efficient as it can be for you, so before you lodge a complaint with us, there are things you must consider.

  1. If your contract is still active you need to follow your contract terms of how you should deal with disputes, including any warranty periods for minor defects. Make sure you have followed these closely to avoid breaching your contract. 

  2. Speak to the principal contractor and clearly identify your concerns with them before you apply to use our service.

    Explain the items you believe are defective, incomplete or contractual.

    Give them reasonable access to the site to review and address your concerns. 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. 
  3. Check that your situation qualifies for our help. Review the eligibility requirements to qualify for our resolution services for defective work.

    Even if we cannot provide dispute resolution services to you, we can provide a letter for you to take the matter to QCAT.

  4. We understand that it can be stressful when problems arise with building work.

    Our process is fair and impartial and is focused on working with both parties to resolve the complaint items. We do not take sides and can only assist and make decisions based on the evidence provided. We only have powers to act in accordance with legislation. 

    We ask that you remain calm and respectful through the dispute resolution process and be open and willing to reach an agreement.

  5. Communicating with your contractor during a dispute can be difficult, especially if your relationship has broken down. Our dispute process requires you to give reasonable access to the contractor if they ask to inspect and/or fix your complaint items. 

    We consider reasonable access to be a time agreed to by you and the contractor, during normal working hours, for full consecutive days if required, provided a minimum of 48 hours’ notice has been given by the contractor.

    Some property owners decide they do not want to allow the contractor to return to 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 rectify any defective work and your case will be closed. This can also impact your entitlement to a claim under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme (applies only to work covered by the Scheme). We will provide both you and your contractor with a letter allowing either party to apply to QCAT if you want to commence a building dispute.

  1. Give your contractor written notice of every defective or unfinished item (e.g. by email or letter). The notice should give 14 days for the contractor to respond (not required if they are bankrupt, liquidated, deregistered or deceased).

    Our process is fair and impartial, and we cannot accept a complaint unless the other party has received the written notice.

  2. Organise all the information and documentation you need before you start. As there are different documents required for different situations, you can avoid delays by submitting the right paperwork in the first instance.  

    If we receive the correct information, it helps us assess your submission more accurately.

    Mandatory documents for complaint

    If you are property owner and the work was carried out for you, you need to submit a copy of the:

    • letter or email sent to the contractor notifying them of all items
    • contract for the work.

    If you are a property owner and the work was done before you purchased the property, you need to submit a copy of the:

    • letter or email sent to the contractor notifying them of all items
    • purchase contract (Contract of Sale)
    • pre-purchase inspection report (if applicable).

    If you are a body corporate representative (for common property only), submit a copy of the:

    • letter or email sent to the contractor notifying them of all items
    • contract for the Work
    • Certificate of Classification
    • Complete Survey Plan
    • Community Title Scheme document.

    If you are an agent acting on behalf of a property owner, submit a copy of the:

    • letter or email sent to the contractor notifying them of all items
    • letter or email signed by the property owner authorising an agent to act on their behalf
    • contract for the work.
    You will be unable to submit this form without uploading the required documents.

    Further documents may be required once your complaint is assessed.

  3. 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 lodge 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

    Lodge complaint online

    Manual option

    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:

Lodge complaint as a principal contractor

We may be able to help if, during construction, a principal contractor is caught in a disagreement with a home owner or subcontractor over defective or incomplete building work or a contractual issue

We understand your time is important and we want this process to be as efficient as it can be for you, so before you lodge a complaint with us, there are things you must consider.

  1. Check your contract or subcontract terms for how you should deal with disputes. Make sure you have followed these closely to avoid breaching your contract.

  2. A home owner

    If you are a principal contractor in a disagreement with a home owner, it's important to speak to your client before contacting us. Try to resolve the problem by listening to their concerns and attempt to reach an amicable solution. 

    You must put your concerns in writing and send by email or letter to the home owner before you apply to use our service.

    A subcontractor

    If you are a principal contractor in a disagreement with your subcontractor, make sure you address your concerns directly with the subcontractor responsible for the disputed work.

    You must put your concerns in writing and send by email or letter to the subcontractor before you apply to use our service.

  3. Check eligibility for our service. Your contract must

    • be with a home owner or subcontractor
    • be for domestic building work
    • still be active.
  4. We understand that it can be stressful when problems arise with building work. 

    Our process is fair and impartial and is focused on working with both parties to resolve the complaint items. We do not take sides and can only assist and make decisions based on the evidence provided. We only have powers to act in accordance with legislation. 

    We ask that you remain calm and respectful through the dispute resolution process and be open and willing to reach an agreement.

  1. Depending on who you are caught in a disagreement with, you will need to give written notice (by email or letter) to either:

    • the home owner 
    • the subcontractor. 
  2. Organise all the information and documentation you need before you start. As there are different documents required for different situations, you can avoid delays by submitting the right paperwork in the first instance.

    If we receive the correct information, it helps us assess your submission more accurately.

    Dispute with the home owner

    Mandatory documents required are:

    • copy of the letter or email notifying the other party of all the complaint items you are entering into the form
    • copy of the contract.

    Dispute with a subcontractor

    Mandatory documents required are:

    • copy of the letter or email notifying the other party of all the complaint items you are entering into the form
    • copy of the subcontract.

    You will be unable to submit this form without uploading the required documents.

  3. 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 on 'action' and choose 'start a new form'
    • complete form
    • upload digital copies of your supporting documents.

    Lodge complaint online

    Manual option

    You can choose to download and complete a manual form. You can find the 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:

Accountability of subcontractors

Subcontractors are accountable for defective building work they perform. A subcontractor responsible for defective work must rectify it or face disciplinary action which could result in suspension or cancellation of their licence.

However a principal contractor still has a responsibility to properly supervise all building work completed under a contract.

Principal contractors found not to have provided adequate supervision will face disciplinary action.

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.

Read about the resolution process for defective work.

If we are unable to help with your complaint we will provide you with a letter that allows you to apply to QCAT if you would like their help. 

Important—your behaviour matters!

We will not tolerate:

  • hurtful or abusive language
  • threats to our staff or anyone else
  • aggressive behaviour that puts others at risk

If your behaviour is unacceptable, we may need to implement strategies to manage how you engage with us.


Last reviewed: 30 Aug 2021 Last published: 30 Aug 2021
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