The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has issued a public warning that some building contractors are demanding additional funds from property owners to cover increased materials and labour costs.
QBCC Commissioner, Anissa Levy, is warning home owners that there may not be any contractual basis for contractors to demand payment for increased labour and material costs as ‘contract variations’ under a fixed price contract.
“The QBCC urges home and property owners to seek their own legal advice before agreeing to or paying an increase in the contract price for a fixed price contract,” Ms Levy says.
She says that as a contractual issue, this matter would usually be considered a civil matter and the QBCC would not be able to become involved.
“However, it could be a breach of a contract, which could potentially allow the contract to be terminated and a claim lodged by the home owner through the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme.”
Parties trying to resolve contractual issues over material or labour shortages should consider mediation with the Accelerated Builder/Consumer Dispute (ABCD) Framework.
Information on the ABCD process, eligibility requirements and how to apply is available on Residential building material and labour shortages, or by phoning the QBCC on 139 333.
This warning is issued by the QBCC Commissioner to the public under section 20J(1)(i) of the QBCC Act 1991.