Contractor offences

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 having to go to court, or being the subject of a public warning concerning your illegal activity.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 meet the minimum financial requirements of holding a QBCC licence - this includes providing the QBCC with certain annual financial information.
  • Not release a subcontractor’s retention amount without reasonable excuse - keeping someone else’s money 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.