Domestic building contracts | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

SEQ flood recovery — tips for rebuilding and tradie register.

Image

    When you need a written contract

    You need a written contract if you're carrying out domestic building work priced over $3,300 including labour, materials and GST.

    If the work is priced at  $20,000 or more, before the owner signs the contract, the building contractor must give them a copy of the:

     QBCC consumer building guide—version 3 (PDF, 74KB)

    This guide provides general information for home owners about:

    • key building and contract issues
    • how to avoid or handle disputes
    • common pitfalls.

    The contractor should ask their client to read, sign and date the guide as evidence that the contractor has met this obligation.

      What is domestic building work?

      Domestic building work includes:

      • building a new detached dwelling (including a duplex)
      • building a structure associated with a home such as a shed, garage, carport, retaining structure, driveway, fence, workshop, swimming pool or spa
      • removing or re-siting a dwelling intended to be used as a residence
      • renovating, extending, altering, improving (including painting and installing services) or repairing a home, duplex or unit
      • refitting a kitchen or bathroom, and
      • landscaping, paving, site work, etc.

      Before you sign a contract

      You should carefully check the contract papers, including any associated plans and specifications. If you have any questions or concerns you should seek legal advice before signing. 

      To be valid, the contract must

      • in writing
      • be signed and dated by each party or their authorised representative
      • comply with Schedule 1B of the QBCC Act.

      Read our guide below containing general information about domestic building contracts and the relevant Queensland legislation.

       Domestic building contracts—information for owners and contractors (PDF, 918KB) 

      Which contract to use

      To comply with the relevant Queensland legislation, you have a few contract options:

      • use one of our contracts
      • use a contract developed by a major industry association
      • develop your own contract—but you must obtain legal advice to ensure it is compliant.

      The QBCC produces a range of domestic  building contracts which include all forms and schedules necessary to enable you to conveniently document and carry out your building project.

      A warning about developing your own contract

      If you want to use your own written agreement, it’s essential you get legal advice first. You risk prosecution, fines, and financial loss if you go ahead without making sure that it complies with the Queensland legislation.

      QBCC contracts for domestic building work

      For the construction of an entire home If you're building a ...

      For the construction of an entire home


      If you're building a single house or duplex, we recommend using the QBCC new home construction contract.

      For new home contracts, contractors must give homeowners a copy of:

      • a QBCC-approved consumer building guide before the homeowner signs the contract
      • the signed and dated contract within 5 business days of entering the contract (including any plans and specifications)
      • the commencement notice (included in the contract pack) within 10 business days of work starting on site. The notice advises the date:
        • work commenced
        • for practical completion.

      Download contract template

      New home construction contract (PDF, 467KB)

       QBCC consumer building guide—version 3 (PDF, 74KB)

      Contracts priced at $3,301 to $19,999 for renovations, extensions...

      Contracts priced at $3,301 to $19,999 for renovations, extensions and routine repairs on existing homes.


      For level 1 contracts, contractors must give homeowners a copy of the signed and dated contract within 5 business days of entering the contract (including any plans and specifications).

      Download contract template

      Level 1 renovation, extension and repair contract (PDF, 665KB)

      Contracts priced at $20,000 and over for renovations, extensions ...

      Contracts priced at $20,000 and over for renovations, extensions and routine repairs on existing homes.


      For level 2 contracts, contractors must give homeowners a copy of the:

      • a QBCC-approved consumer building guide before the homeowner signs the contract
      • signed and dated contract within 5 business days of entering the contract (including any plans and specifications).

      Download contract template

      Level 2 renovation, extension and repair contract (PDF, 919KB)

       QBCC consumer building guide—version 3 (PDF, 74KB

      Contract for repairs to a home, duplex or home unit after a natur...

      Contract for repairs to a home, duplex or home unit after a natural disaster.


      The Natural disaster repairs contract is designed to help you document repairs of any value to a home, duplex or unit after a natural disaster (e.g. a flood, severe storm or cyclone, etc.).

      This is a free PDF version.  

      Download contract template

      Natural disaster repairs contract (PDF, 702KB)

      Simple two-page contract for recording the demolition of a domest...

      Simple two-page contract for recording the demolition of a domestic property.


      This very brief contract allows the homeowner and demolition contractor to record their agreement for the demolition of a home (including where the home has been damaged by a natural disaster such as a flood or a cyclone).

      It's only available for downloading—no hard copy version is available. It consists of a one-page Contract Schedule with General Conditions on the back.

      Download contract template

      Demolition of residential premises contract (PDF, 347KB)

      Priced up to $3,300—a simple two-page contract for small domestic...

      Priced up to $3,300—a simple two-page contract for small domestic building projects.


      The Small building projects contract is a simple two-page document that makes it easy for you to record your agreement and payment arrangements for small domestic projects costing no more than $3,300 (including labour, materials and GST). It includes a Contract Schedule with the General Conditions on the back, and is free to download.

      It's illegal to use this contract for domestic building projects with a contract price over $3,300.

      Download contract template

      Small building projects contract (PDF, 153KB)

      Warnings

      Warning about using your own contract

      If you want to use your own written agreement, it’s essential you get legal advice first. The contract requirements for domestic building work are much more detailed for the contract requirements for commercial work. You risk prosecution, fines, or financial loss if you go use a contract without making sure that it complies with the Queensland legislation.  

      Warning against using old or interstate subcontracts

      Recent changes to relevant Commonwealth and State legislation can make it inappropriate or even legally dangerous to use older contracts (especially those dated prior to July 2018) or contracts produced in a different jurisdiction (e.g. contracts from a different State or even from overseas).

      Change in termination rules

      A legislative change which applies to all contracts entered after 1 July 2018, limits the ability of a contracting party to immediately terminate a contract because the other party is experiencing financial difficulties and taking steps to avoid bankruptcy or (in the case of a company) liquidation. 

      The QBCC strongly recommends that, before signing, contractors seek legal advice regarding the termination clauses of any contract they intend to use for building work, especially if the contract is dated prior to July 2018. Termination of any contract is a significant step which should not be taken without prior legal advice from an experienced lawyer.

      Offence to not put contract in writing

      A contractor commits an offence if they don't use a written contract which complies with the requirements of the QBCC act for regulated building. QBCC may prosecute or take disciplinary action and apply demerit points. This can lead to loss of licence and financial loss for the contractor.


      Last reviewed: 19 Sep 2021 Last published: 19 Sep 2021
      Back to top