Required trust notices | Queensland Building and Construction Commission

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Trust notices must be given within required timeframes and include the required information.

There are a number of notices and forms associated with trust accounts, including:

  • notices required by the trustee throughout the lifespan of the trust accounts
  • notices used by other parties to:
    • request information from the trustee
    • notify the QBCC about trust account matters.

As a trustee you can use the following checklists to help guide you through the notification requirements for each type or trust account.

Notices required by trustees

There are a number of notices and forms related to trust accounts that must be given to various parties and at various stages during the project life by the trustee (person responsible for the trust).  

Tip! If you use myQBCC to notify the QBCC, you can use the confirmation PDF emailed to you to notify other parties. 
  1. After you have opened the account for the project trust, you must notify the relevant parties in writing:

    • about the use of the project trust account for contract payments 
    • providing the required details about the project trust account
    • within the specified timeframes.
    1. Notice to the QBCC

    Written notice must be given:

    2. Notice to the contracting party

    Written notice must be given 

    • within 5 business days. 

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Trust account opened—notice to contracting party (s18b) (PDF, KB)

    3. Notice to the contracted parties (subcontractor beneficiaries)

    Written notice must be given either (whichever is sooner):

    • within 10 business days
    • upon entering a contract.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Trust account opened or changed—notice to contracted party (s23-s18c) (PDF, 70KB)

  2. If you make changes to the project trust account throughout the life of the project, such as changing the trust name or transferring the account to a different approved financial institution, the trustee must notify the relevant parties in writing:

    • about the use of the project trust account for contract payments 
    • providing the required details about the project trust account
    • within the specified timeframes.
    1. Notice to the QBCC

    Written notice must be given:

    2. Notice to the contracting party (principal, developer or owner)

    Written notice must be given 

    • within 5 business days. 

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Trust account closed or changed—notice to contracting party (s18b-18c) (PDF, KB)

    3. Notice to the contracted parties (subcontractor beneficiaries)

    Written notice must be given:

    • before using the new account for payments
    • within 5 business days

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Trust account opened or changed—notice to contracted party (s23-s18c) (PDF, 70KB)

  3. There are specific requirements for how payments and withdrawals must be completed within project trust accounts.

    After making the following payments from the project trust account, the trustee must provide the subcontractor beneficiaries with:

    • written advice
    • any other required details
    • within the specified timeframes.

    This information must be provided to the beneficiaries within the specified timeframes,

    1. Notice to beneficiary—after paying subcontractor

    After paying a subcontractor beneficiary an amount (e.g. a progress payment) as per the subcontract, a trustee must:

    • within 5 business days
    • provide written payment notice to the beneficiary
    • including the required information.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Payment advice – withdrawal from project trust account (PDF).

    2. Notice to beneficiary—after depositing into retention account

    After paying an amount into the retention trust account, withheld from the subcontractor beneficiary, a trustee must:

    • within 5 business days
    • provide written payment notice to the beneficiary
    • including the required information.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended examples:

  4. If there are insufficient funds available in the project trust account to pay more than one subcontractor the full amount due to be paid to them, the trustee must make a proportional payment to each of the subcontractors (a pro-rata payment) and notify the QBCC.

    1. Notice to the QBCC

    As soon as practicable after making a proportional payment, the trustee must notify the QBCC about the proportional payment either:

  5. A project trust account can only be closed when certain conditions are met.

    After closing the account, the trustee must notify the relevant parties in writing:

    • about the closure of the project trust account 
    • providing the required details
    • within the specified timeframes.

    1. Notice to the QBCC

    Written notice must be given:

    2. Notice to the contracting party (principal, developer or owner)

    Written notice must be given :

    • within 5 business days. 

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Trust account closed or changed—notice to contracting party (s18b-18c) (PDF, KB)

    The project trust is also considered to be dissolved when the account is closed and the above notices have been given.

  1. After you have opened the account for the project trust, you must notify the relevant parties in writing:

    • about the use of the retention trust account for withholding retention amounts 
    • providing the required details about the project trust account
    • within the specified timeframes.
    1. Notice to the QBCC

    Written notice must be given:

    2. Notice to the contracted parties (subcontractor beneficiaries)

    Written notice must be given to all contracted parties from whom the retention amounts are being withheld (these parties are also the beneficiaries):

    • before withholding a retention amount
    • providing the required information.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Trust account opened or changed—notice to contracted party (s23-s18c) (PDF, 70KB)

  2. If you need to make changes to the retention trust account throughout the life of the project, such as changing the trust name or transferring the account to a different approved financial institution, the trustee must notify the relevant parties in writing:

    • about the use of the project trust account for contract payments 
    • providing the required details about the project trust account
    • within the specified timeframes.
    1. Notice to the QBCC

    Written notice must be given:

    2. Notice to the contracted parties (subcontractor beneficiaries)

    Written notice must be given:

    • before using the new account for payments
    • within 5 business days

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Notice to subcontractor—retention trust account opened or changed—s34b-34c (PDF)

  3. There are certain requirements for how payments and withdrawals are to be made for retention trust accounts.

    After making the following payments from the retention trust account, the trustee must provide the contracted parties (the parties from whom the retention amounts are being withheld—also known as the subcontractor beneficiaries) with:

    • written advice about the transactions
    • providing the required details
    • within the specified timeframes.
    1. Notice to beneficiary—after depositing into retention trust

    After after an amount is deposited into the retention trust for the benefit of the contracted party, a trustee must:

    • within 5 business days
    • provide written payment notice to the beneficiary
    • including the required information.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Payment advice—deposit into retention trust template (PDF).

    2. Notice to beneficiary—after paying from retention account

    After an amount is paid out of the retention trust for the benefit of the contracted party, a trustee must:

    • within 5 business days
    • provide written payment notice to the beneficiary
    • including the required information.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Payment advice —payment to beneficiary from retention trust account template (PDF).

    3. Notice to beneficiary—after trustee withdraws from retention account

    After the trustee withdraws retention amounts from the retention trust account to pay another party (someone other than the contracted party), a trustee must:

    • within 5 business days
    • provide written payment notice to the beneficiary
    • including the required information.

    Refer to QBCC’s recommended example: Payment advice—payment to another party from retention trust account template (PDF).

  4. A retention trust account can only be closed when certain conditions are met. Remember, a retention trust account can be used for retention amounts withheld across multiple projects and therefore does not need to be closed when a project is completed.

    After closing the account, the trustee notify the QBCC in writing:

    • about the closure of the project trust account 
    • providing the required details
    • within the specified timeframes.

    1. Notice to the QBCC

    Written notice must be given:

    The ‘trust’ is also considered to be dissolved when the account is closed and the above notices have been given.

    It is an offence to dissolve a retention trust before these requirements are met and penalties apply.
  5. A trustee of a retention trust may nominate another person to administer the retention trust account on their behalf. 

    As the trustee, if you will not be responsible for administering the retention trust account, you must nominate another person and notify the QBCC of the nomination online via myQBCC.

    If the person responsible for administering the retention trust account changes, you must nominate a new person and notify the QBCC online via myQBCC. You can change the nominated person at any time; however each nominated person must complete the required retention trust training.

Notices used by other parties

There are a range of forms and notices that can be used by other parties in the contracting chain to request information.

  1. A current or former beneficiary of a trust can request certain records or information about the trust. This information can include the following, but only to the extent that it related to the beneficiary making the request:

    • a statement of balance
    • a copy of transactions
    • a copy of the trust records
    • a copy of supporting statements.

    This request must be given in writing and include the required information, or by completing and submitting the:

  2. Anyone who has concerns that a trustee is not meeting their obligations can notify the QBCC by:

FAQs

  1. There is no requirement to notify the QBCC about the engagement of subcontractors unless the subcontractor is a related entity to the trustee (head contractor).

  2. No. There are specific forms and rules for using PBAs. Continue using the forms that were designed specifically for PBAs to ensure you meet the requirements for those notices.

  3. Under the former PBA rules, head contractors had to notify the principal about subcontractor bank account details and subcontractor payments. Is this required for PTAs?

    No. Unless their contract specifically requires it, trustees for PTAs are not required to notify the principal about subcontractor bank account details or subcontractor payments. This also applies to trustees who have transitioned a PBA to the new trust account framework.

    However, trustees continuing to operate under the (old) PBA framework are still required to give those notices to the principal. 

  4. Yes. Payment details need to be given to the subcontractor. This can be given in the form of a remittance advice for example. The advice must identify the related payment claim (if any) and must include the beneficiary’s payment account details, the payment amount and date, and (if the payment involves a retention) the total retention amounts held for the beneficiary after the transaction. 

  5. All notices must be given within the timeframes prescribed in the legislation. There is no discretion around these timeframes – trustees will need to make arrangements to ensure notices are given on time.

    Notice timeframes are given in business days rather than calendar days. A business day does not include a weekend, a public holiday or the period from 22 December of a given year to 10 January of the following year.

  1. Does a principal have visibility on what a head contractor has paid to subcontractors from a trust account?

    No, under the new trust account framework, the principal no longer has oversight/visibility of the account (this was a requirement under the previous PBA framework) and therefore will not be able to see what amounts have been paid to subcontractors. 

    However, the principal should have visibility on what amounts a head contractor has not paid its subcontractors. This is because a head contractor is required to include a supporting statement with every payment claim that they give to the principal. The supporting statement is a written document that declares that all subcontractors have been paid or, if not, details the unpaid amount/s and the reason/s. 

    Can anybody (e.g., principal or financier) request trust account balances from a trustee?

    The legislation only deals with information requests made by the QBCC, beneficiaries, auditors and special investigators. The trustee must also comply with requirements to provide particular notices about the trust account to the QBCC, beneficiaries and, for project trusts only, the contracting party (principal/owner).
     

  2. The supporting statement should only include amounts for which the due date for payment has passed that have not been paid at the time of giving the statement. It should not include retention amounts that are being withheld in accordance with the terms of the contract, as they are not yet due to be paid. However, if a retention amount is due to be released and has not yet been paid, it should be included in the supporting statement.

  3. What are a principal’s obligations? Do they need to ensure a trust account is set up by the head contractor?

    Principals are required to notify the QBCC if they are aware (or should reasonably be aware) the head contractor didn’t open a project trust account as required. They also must notify the QBCC if they are aware the head contracted has subcontracted work to a ‘related entity’. 

    Does a head contractor need to ensure subcontractors have set up their trust account (if required)?  

    Generally, they will not, however if the head contractor has engaged a related entity subcontractor who is required to open a project trust account and has not done so, the head contractor should report that failure to the QBCC.

  4. It is not a requirement, however contracts can include reference to trust account requirements. The QBCC can supply some suggested wording on request.

  5. How often are trustees required to provide trust records? Every payment?  Every month?  At the end of each project?  Or only if requested by QBCC?

    Trustees are required to keep trust records for project and retention trusts. These records must be made available for review as part of the account review process and upon request from a beneficiary or the QBCC.  

    Auditors engaged to carry out account reviews will check the trustee’s compliance with the requirements for administration of the trust – including the record keeping requirements. 

    Beneficiaries can also request certain trust records and information from the trustee at any time. The trustee must meet this request but is only required to provide information that relates to the beneficiary that is requesting it.

    The QBCC may also, as part of its oversight and auditing powers, request copies of the trust records.

  6. What information can beneficiaries request about trust accounts?

    A beneficiary for a project or retention trust may request in writing that the trustee provide the following information (to the extent it relates to them only):

    • a statement of balance for the retention trust account;
    • a copy of the transactions affecting the retention trust account;
    • a copy of the trust records.

    A beneficiary for a project trust may also request a copy of any supporting statements that the trustee (as head contractor) has given to the contracting party.

    If a beneficiary requests a copy of a statement of balance for the trust account, what should the trustee provide?
    This can be a report from the individual trust account ledger that details the trust account balance relating to that beneficiary.  
     


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