Payment disputes


The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent, accessible and in some cases less expensive pathway to payment dispute resolution up to the value of $25,000.  For values over $25,000, claimants must take their payment dispute to court.

You can apply to QCAT for certain types of domestic and commercial building disputes including:

  • disputes about unpaid debts
  • performance of the works
  • contractual disputes.

A dispute may be between:

  • a building owner and a building contractor
  • two or more building contractors
  • various other consultants and suppliers.

For QCAT to hear the payment dispute it must relate to certain types of building work.

Before applying to QCAT

Before making a commercial or domestic building dispute application to QCAT, parties are required to participate in a dispute resolution process with the QBCC.

A letter from the QBCC detailing the outcome of this process must accompany an application to QCAT. Failure to do so could result in dismissal of the application.

In addition to the lodging with QCAT, claimants should also consider the following options as a way to prompt respondents to pay:

It’s recommended you seek legal advice first to ensure which actions you can take under the terms of your contract.

The QCAT process

If a claimant wishes to start legal proceedings against a respondent who has failed to pay a valid payment claim by the due date, the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (BIF Act) stipulates the claimant must:

  • complete and provide the respondent with a written notice of intention to start legal proceedings, no later than 20 business days after the due date for the payment
  • wait five business days after giving the respondent the warning notice before taking further action
  • be guided by the legal system as to the next steps to take.

More information

More information can be found on the QCAT website.