Complaints before your contract has been completed - scenarios

Scenario 1 - Principal Contractor with a client alleging defective work 

Sam was hired to install a new bathroom in a home unit. The contract is not yet finished but Sam’s clients are unhappy with the floor tiling and think it is uneven, and are refusing to pay his progress payment until it is fixed. 

Sam has checked the Australian Standard for ceramic tiles and the QBCC Standards and Tolerances Guide and does not believe the tiling is defective building work. 

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

What outcome can Sam expect? 

One of our Resolution Services officers will review Sam’s submission and contact both Sam and his clients. Sam will be asked to contact his clients to arrange to view and fix the tiles. Because Sam is confident the work is not defective, Sam is comfortable not repairing the tiling and for the issue to proceed to a QBCC inspection. 

Our Building Inspector will arrange to inspect the tiles with both Sam and his clients present. If the tiles are not defective building work, both parties will receive a written response from the QBCC and the case will be finalised. If Sam’s clients still refuse to pay his progress payment, Sam can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for a decision about the overdue payment. 

If Sam has misinterpreted the Australian Standards and/or the QBCC Standards and Tolerances Guide and our Building Inspector determines the tiling is defective, we will work with both parties to try to reach an outcome that will result in the work being fixed. 

Scenario 2 - Subcontractor alleging defective work 

Lisa has subcontracted to a builder to install 6mm fibre cement sheet wall cladding in an office building. Half way through the job, the builder complains to Lisa that the stud spacing is too wide. 

Lisa is ineligible to apply to use our EDR service because she is not the principal contractor and the work is not domestic building work. 

Scenario 3 - Dispute between principal contractor and client about a variation in scope

Cameron was hired to build a deck. His client is disputing a variation regarding the type of decking to be used, as he believes the variation was not agreed prior to the work being done. 

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

What outcome can Cameron expect? 

One of our Resolution Services officers will review Cameron’s submission and contact both Cameron and his client. We will not conduct an inspection as there are no allegations of defective work. 

We will call Cameron and his client 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. Our role is to try to facilitate an agreement between the parties involved. 

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

Scenario 4  - Principal contractor with a client who won’t pay 

Ken runs a building company. He has completed a new home and issued the clients his final invoice. The clients have noticed the cooktop is scratched and the plasterboard wall in the living room is dented. They believe it is the fault of one of the trades people. The clients don’t want to pay Ken until these issues are fixed. 

Ken is ineligible to apply to use our EDR service because the contract has been completed (reached practical completion). 

Ken’s clients are eligible to apply to use our dispute resolution service because they are the property owners and the contract has been completed. 

What outcome can Ken expect? 

Ken’s clients have no issue with the quality of building work performed, but want Ken held responsible for the scratches to the cooktop and the dent in the wall. While Ken’s clients can submit a complaint with the QBCC, we will not conduct an inspection as there are no allegations of defective work. We will provide Ken and his clients with a letter allowing them to apply to QCAT if they would like to commence a building dispute about their contract and the outstanding payment.