Understanding when you are breaking the law

A QBCC licence comes with responsibilities. We give you a licence because you have the right qualifications and experience, but we also expect you to follow the rules and regulations.

What are the consequences?

There are a range of actions we take, from issuing a formal warning to suspending or cancelling your licence. At the very least, we may fine you and issue demerit points.

While in some instances you may be unaware that you are committing an offence, many of the laws are just common sense and about doing the right thing.

Get to know what you can do to avoid some of the more serious consequences, such as disciplinary action, having to go to court, or being the subject of a public warning concerning your illegal activity.

Disciplinary action can range from an official reprimand which appears on the QBCC public record to licence cancellation. The maximum number of penalty units is 200 for individuals and 1000 for companies.

How can you commit an offence?

  • Work when you are not licensed – If your licence is suspended or cancelled, you can’t carry out any building work. This means that you can’t provide quotes or tenders for building work, sign a building contract, or do the work itself. If you are in the middle of a job, you need to stop work until you become licensed again. You will need to review any contracts that you have in place and seek legal advice regarding the consequences that licence suspension or cancellation has on your on foot contracts.

  • Use another person's licence number or lend your licence – Don’t think it’s ok to let someone else use your licence, and don’t be tempted to use someone else’s licence. It may help you get some work done, but if you’re caught, it will have long term consequences for both you and the other contractor. If you or the other person have all the right qualifications and can easily apply, there’s no excuse for not having a licence.

  • Fail to pay Home Warranty Insurance – It’s important to always pay the premium for any residential construction work over $3,300. The QBCC home warranty insurance needs to be paid within 10 business days or before work starts. (whichever comes first).

  • Not comply with your contract – Whether you are working directly with a client, or have an agreement with a builder to carry out sub–contract work, make sure you understand the conditions of your contract. Cutting corners and failing to follow the conditions in your contract can be an offence under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 and can expose you to a claim at QCAT.

  • Not be fit and proper – Your licence will be affected if you don’t run your business with honesty and integrity. This may also be the case if you are involved in any criminal activity outside of QBCC’s jurisdiction.

  • Advertise incorrectly – You need to make sure that any advertising you do includes the correct wording. The requirements are very simple and it lets your customers know that you and your business are legitimate.
  • Not comply with an adjudicator’s decision - If an adjudicator has made a decision that you are required to make payment, it is an offence to not comply.
  • Not pay all invoices before the due date or respond to the payment claim (Invoice) providing a payment schedule within 15 business days after receiving the payment claim.
  • Not meet the minimum financial requirements of holding a QBCC licence - this includes providing the QBCC with certain annual financial information or giving false or misleading information about your MFR to another person, for example to an accountant, which is submitted by the other person to the QBCC.
  • Not release a subcontractor’s retention amount or other security without reasonable excuse - keeping someone else’s money or other security is a serious offence and you risk a heavy fine or even imprisonment if you do not comply. 
  • Fail to give a Notice of End of Defects Liability Form to subcontractors – contractors must advise sub-contractors of the impending end of the defects liability period. This notice must be given within 10 business days before the end of the defects liability period or within 5 business days after receiving a notice if the defect liability period is linked to another building contract. This requirement does not apply to a contracting party who enters into a building contract as a principal.
  • Not comply with project bank account requirements -project bank accounts have a number of legislative forms that need to be given between the parties. It is an offence to not comply with these requirements.
  • Not notify the commission of any safety matters  by the fastest way possible either by telephone or in writing (electronic means are accepted but the written notice must be in a form approved by the Commission).
  • Delay or obstruct compliance with a direction to rectify – If the QBCC believes work is defective or incomplete and you are given a direction to rectify, you risk a fine if you delay or obstruct the rectification work.
  • Not provide adequate supervision on site.