Defective work

If your client believes the work you have done is defective, they can submit a complaint to us.  

Defective building work usually falls into 2 categories:

  • Structural – e.g. leaking roof, leaking shower, health and safety issues
  • Non-structural – e.g. sticking drawer, minor cracking of plasterboard.

We may also look at complaints about consequential damage caused by building work.

Complaint timeframes

  • Structural Defective Work – The owner can submit a complaint within 6 years 6 months from when the work is completed and within 12 months of noticing the defect.
  • Non-structural Defective Work – As a contractor, you may provide a 6 or 12 month statutory warranty from the date of practical completion for non-structural defects.  Typically, this is part of the contract conditions for new home construction. If the owner notices a defect within the warranty period, they can request (in writing), that you fix the defect. The owner can also submit a complaint to the QBCC no later than 12 months from noticing the defect.

What is defective work?

If you are unsure about what constitutes defective work, read more here or check the QBCC’s handy Standards and Tolerances Guide (PDF).

What will happen if a complaint is submitted

Once a complaint is submitted:

  • Assessment – a QBCC Resolution Services officer will contact you and the owner to discuss and assess the complaint and obtain further information or documents if required. You will both be encouraged to try to resolve the complaint without further QBCC involvement.
  • Access – the owner will be asked to give you reasonable access to inspect and assess the items. The QBCC considers reasonable access to be a time agreed to by you and the owner, during normal working hours, for full consecutive days if required, provided you have given the owner a minimum of 48 hours’ notice.  
  • Owner and contractor meet to resolve items – you meet the owner on site to review each item and decide a plan for the repair of any agreed items.
  • Repairs – you carry out all agreed repairs. Reasonable access must be provided to you to carry out this work. 
  • Inspection – if there are any defective work items that cannot be resolved, a QBCC Building Inspector will be assigned to the case and will contact you to attempt to facilitate an outcome. If this is unsuccessful, the Building Inspector may undertake a site inspection. 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. 
  • Resolution – following a site inspection, we may issue a direction to you, and any relevant subcontractor, to rectify defective building work. In most cases, the rectification period will be 35 days. Reasonable access must be provided by the owner for you to carry out this work. 

If you fail to comply with a direction, we may commence disciplinary action in the QCAT or Magistrates Court. For residential construction work (covered by a Certificate of Insurance), the work may be rectified as a claim under the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme. We may recover the amount of an approved claim from you as a debt.  QBCC's Dispute Resolution Process (PDF) provides more information.  

Accountability for Subcontractors

Following extensive consultation with building industry associations, the QBCC will ensure subcontractors are held accountable for defective building work they perform.

Complaints we don't investigate

We generally don't investigate:

  • Complaints where the work value is $3,300 and under (including labour, materials and GST) – excluding plumbing, drainage, gas fitting, termite management chemical system installation, building design and completed building inspections which can be investigated regardless of the value and hydraulic design work valued over $1,100.
  • Complaints about electrical work. Contact the Electrical Safety Office
  • Complaints about meeting contract conditions or payment disputes. Please refer to payment disputes for more information.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission Regulation 2018 – Schedule 1  provides the  list of work that is not building work and therefore we cannot help with.

Your privacy

Information you provide during the dispute process is kept confidential but may be subject to access under the Right to Information Act 2009. This includes documents supplied and information gained during the resolution process. Information is only released in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Right to Information Act 2009.