Payment disputes

QCAT

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is an independent, accessible and in some cases less expensive pathway to payment dispute resolution. 

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.

You can apply to QCAT for commercial building disputes for amounts of up to $50,000 (or more if both parties agree) or for domestic building disputes of any amount.

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 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.