How to open a trust account | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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Open an account for a project trust

All eligible contracts require their own project trust account. To find out if your contract is eligible and requires a project trust, you can:

You must have one project trust account per eligible contract. You cannot use one project trust account across multiple projects.

You must open a project trust account within 20 days of the start of the project trust account requirement. For example, when one of the following events occur: 

  • 20 business days after entering the first subcontract
  • 20 business days after entering the 'eligible' contract
  • 20 business days after a contract variation or amendment.

When opening the account, you must ensure:

  1. the account is opened in the name of the trustee (that is, the account holder is the same entity as the party who has entered the contract)
  2. the account is only opened at one of the approved financial institutions
  3. the account name must include the trustee’s name and the word ‘trust’. 

After opening your project trust account, there are a number of required trust account notices you must provide to various parties.

 Once a project trust account has been opened, it can only be closed if either: 

  • the project trust is no longer required—that is, when all contract amounts have been paid to subcontractors 
  • the project trust has been transferred to another approved financial institution (this can only occur once every 12 months). 

Once a project trust account has been opened, it can only be closed if either:

  • the project trust is no longer requiredthat is, when all contract amounts have been paid to subcontractors
  • the project trust has been transferred to another approved financial institution.

Open an account for a retention trust

Certain ‘eligible’ cash retention amounts must be held in a retention trust account. To find out if you need to open a retention trust account, you can:

You only need to have one retention trust account for all eligible cash retention amounts withheld across all contracts and projects. However, you can also choose to have more than one retention trust account if preferred. 

You must open a retention trust account before withholding the cash retention amount/s.

The exception to this occurs when the retention trust requirement starts after the retention amount was withheld, in which case you must:

  • open the account as soon as practicable
  • ensure you transfer cash retention amounts withheld earlier into the account within 5 business days. 

When opening the account, you must ensure:

  1. the account is opened in the name of the trustee (that is, the account holder is the same entity as the contracting party who is withholding the retention amount)
  2. the account is only opened at one of the approved financial institutions
  3. the account name must include the trustee’s name and the word ‘trust’. E.g. ABC Construction PTY LTD retention trust.

After opening your retention trust account, there are a number of required trust account notices that you must provide to various parties.

Once a retention trust account has been opened, it can only be closed if either:

  • the retention trust is no longer requiredthat is, there are no longer any amounts held in the account for other parties
  • the retention trust has been transferred to another financial institution.

As there is only one retention trust account required and it may hold cash retention amounts across multiple projects, the retention trust account does not need to be closed. This means even if a project has completed or there are no funds sitting in the account, it can remain open and be used for 'eligible' cash retention amounts.

A trustee of a retention trust may nominate another person to administer the retention trust account on their behalf. 


Last reviewed: 10 Sep 2021 Last published: 10 Sep 2021
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