Sixty-four Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) officers checked the licences of almost 4,000 workers as part of the Statewide campaign in October and early November.
QBCC Commissioner, Anissa Levy, says during the four-week blitz, which extended from the far north to the Gold Coast, officers looked at everything from home renovation projects to new builds.
“The rate of suspected unlicensed contracting detected during the blitz was just 1.86 per cent, showing that the majority of workers are doing the right thing and Queenslanders should feel confident that their homes are being built by people with the appropriate skills and qualifications,” Commissioner Levy says.
“However, the 73 people suspected of performing unlicensed work are now subject to further investigations which could result in prosecution.”
Commissioner Levy says the people suspected of unlicensed contracting were a mix of experienced and inexperienced individuals.
The unlicensed activity included work involving brick and block laying, carpentry, concreting, plumbing and drainage, painting and decorating, roof and wall cladding, structural landscaping, wall and floor tiling and waterproofing.
“In addition to the suspected unlicensed workers, our officers detected a number of minor offences in each region, resulting in warnings or educational letters,” Ms Levy says.
QBCC officers are preparing to issue more than 200 letters about non-compliant signage.
Commissioner Levy says proactive campaigns like this are conducted to help the QBCC ensure the construction industry is meeting its obligations regarding licensing, including the use of appropriately licensed subcontractors.
“We also take the opportunity during these campaigns to provide educational advice to licensees and to inform home owners of their rights and responsibilities, and about the role of the QBCC,” Commissioner Levy says.
“On this particular campaign our officers distributed more than 2,000 information pamphlets to workers on sites.”
Unlicensed contracting and improper use of a licence were among the five most common offences investigated by QBCC officers around the State in the last financial year.
During 2022-2023, the QBCC investigated 735 people for unlicensed contracting and 204 people were investigated for improper use of a licence.
Commissioner Levy says the QBCC has zero tolerance for these illegal activities and there are significant penalties for anyone caught acting unlawfully.
“One of the reasons we take a tough stance is to protect home owners and workers on construction sites. By proactively identifying and preventing unlawful activity, we are helping to keep everyone safe,’’ she says.
“It also ensures there is a level playing field for our licensed contractors who are doing the right thing by obtaining qualifications and experience and providing the QBCC with evidence of their financial stability each year.
“Another reason we take such a tough stance is to make sure home owners are aware of, and not forgoing their access to Australia’s most accessible home warranty scheme, the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme, administered by the QBCC.”
An individual or company caught working without a licence can be issued with fines up to $3,096 or prosecuted in court. Repeat offending can lead to imprisonment for up to a year.