Complaints before your contract has been completed

Our Early Dispute Resolution (EDR) service may be able to help if you’re caught in a disagreement with your home owner client over: 

  • defective building work 
  • incomplete building work; or 
  • a contractual issue. 

This free service offers a fast way for principal contractors to work with the other party to reach agreement when construction is still underway. Our EDR service also covers these types of disputes between a principal contractor and their subcontractors. 

Our EDR service shouldn't be used in place of seeking your own independent legal advice or contract administration services. 

Who can apply 

Principal contractors with a: 

  • contract underway with a home owner for domestic building work; or 
  • subcontract underway with a subcontractor for domestic building work. 

Domestic building work includes things like: 

  • Building a house or duplex 
  • Renovating, altering, extending or repairing a home, which can include a residential apartment or unit 
  • Landscaping, paving, driveways, fencing, garages, carports, swimming pools and other associated works 
  • Supplying lighting, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, water supply, sewerage and other services and facilities. You can find the full definition of domestic building work in Schedule 1B of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991

If your home owner client's issue has arisen after your contract was completed, they will need to follow the process applicable to their situation - defective building work, defective design services, building non-completion or unsatisfactory termite and pre-purchase inspection services. 

When EDR can help 

Our EDR service is most successful where both parties are willing to participate and work towards an agreement. We can help you avoid a lengthy and potentially costly dispute if you are willing to work with our experienced staff to look for solutions you can both accept. 

When EDR can’t help 

  • The work is commercial or industrial building work 
  • The contract value is $3,300 or less (including labour, materials and GST) - excluding plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, chemical termite management system installation, building design, site classification, fire protection and completed building inspections, which can be investigated regardless of the value and hydraulic design work valued over $1,100
  • The contract has been terminated or completed 
  • The contract is between two parties other than a home owner and a principal contractor 
  • You, as the principal contractor, aren't responsible for the issue (e.g. natural disaster, lack of owner maintenance etc.). 

Is our EDR service right for you? 

Avoid wasting time by checking if our EDR service is right for you before you apply. 

Disputes about the quality of the work (e.g. defective work)

Our expert team can:

  • contact both parties to try to facilitate an agreement
  • only if this is unsuccessful and if defective work is alleged, we may inspect to decide if the work is defective or not
  • issue a formal notice to the contractor (called a Direction to Rectify) for any defective work if required

The QBCC has no power to:

  • direct how work should be fixed
  • supervise repairs
  • fix defective work ourselves. 

Disputes about your contract (e.g. payments, variations, delays) 

Our expert team can:

work with both parties to try to facilitate an agreement about contract issues (e.g. payments due, approval of variations).

The QBCC has no power to:
  • require someone to pay or refund monies
  • make decisions or give orders about your contract 
  • force either party to comply with any agreement.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can make decisions about contract disputes. At the end of our EDR service, we will issue you a letter so you can apply to QCAT if you’d like their help. You cannot apply to QCAT until you have completed our EDR process. 


Before you apply for our EDR service 

The 3 most important things you need to do: 

  1. Talk to the other party
    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. 
  2. Prepare your paperwork
    You will need a copy of your contract or subcontract. You can avoid delays by submitting the right paperwork with your EDR submission. If we receive the correct information, it helps us assess your submission more accurately. 
  3. Read the instructions and enter the right details
    We want to process your submission quickly. 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 submission. Be sure to let us know if you are concerned about any dangerous or unsafe items. 

Example scenarios 

How to apply 

Remember, you must be the principal contractor to use our EDR service. 

You can apply online.  Make sure you include a copy of the contract or subcontractor agreement. You won’t be able to submit the form without uploading these documents.

What will happen after you apply

One of our Resolution Services officers will contact both you and your client. If your dispute is eligible for the EDR service, an attempt will be made in this first phone call to facilitate an outcome.

Our aim is to quickly facilitate an acceptable agreement between both parties. If this does not occur and only if there is alleged defective work, one of our expert Building Inspectors may inspect the work. During the inspection, the Building Inspector will investigate each dispute item and determine if the work is defective or not and decide what subsequent action is required. 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 an alleged defect. Examples of invasive investigations include cutting a hole in a wall to look at damage behind the wall. The inspection is also not intended to be a complete inspection of the whole building or dwelling.

What you can do to help the EDR process

Have all of your information handy when our Resolution Services officer contacts you. As the EDR process is about facilitation, be open and willing to reach an agreement.

Applying directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

Even if your dispute is not eligible for our EDR service, QCAT require you to apply to resolve your dispute through us before they will accept an application. At the end of our process, we will issue you a letter so you can then apply to QCAT if you’d like their help.