Transitioning project bank accounts

Continuing a project bank account 

The allowed period within which former project bank accounts (PBAs) were able to transition to the new trust account framework has ended. 

From 1 September 2021, a PBA can no longer transition and must continue to operate under the former PBA laws. This obligation continues until the former PBA is dissolved and closed at the end of the project.

For more information, see the Business  Queensland website or download the Building industry fairness reforms: project bank accounts - head contractor guidelines (PDF, 1.1MB). The required forms for PBAs are available on the QBCC forms page.

Trustees who completed the transition of their PBA trusts to the new trust account framework by 31 August 2021, must now comply with the trust account requirements of the NEW trust account framework. For more information refer to the Trustee guide: transitioning from project bank accounts to the new trust account framework.

Obligations for principals

Principals who are currently involved in PBA trusts are required to monitor accounts and notify the QBCC of certain discrepancies – this obligation continues until the former PBA is dissolved and closed at the end of the project. 

For more information, see the Business Queensland website or download the Building industry fairness reforms: project bank accounts - principal guidelines (PDF, 1.1MB).

Key changes between project bank accounts and new trust accounts

More details about the differences between the project bank account model and the new trust account framework are provided below.

Number and structure of accounts

Project bank accounts

Required three accounts per eligible contract:   

  • 1 x general trust account 
  • 1 x retention trust account 
  • 1 x disputed funds trust account.

Trust account framework

  • 1 x PTA per eligible contract 
  • 1 x RTA for cash retentions withheld by the contracting party (for example trustee) across all projects.
Opening accounts and using the accounts

Project bank accounts

  • any financial institution (provided trustee could ensure required functionality). 
  • name of account required to include the word ‘trust’
  • payment instructions given to financial institution for withdrawals or transfers. 

Trust account framework

  • approved financial institution only for both PTAs and RTAs
  • name of account required to include the word ‘trust’ and the name of the trustee
  • withdrawals or transfers made using any method that creates an electronic record.
Trust oversight

Project bank accounts

  • the principal has direct oversight including having viewing access to the account at the financial institution
  • the principal receives all relevant PBA notices including notification of all payments to beneficiaries (e.g. payment instruction information)
  • limited notifications required to be given to the QBCC.

Trust account framework

  • QBCC has oversight of trust account compliance and receives relevant notices.
  • new audit and investigation powers for the QBCC
  • the principal is NOT required to have direct oversight 
  • viewing access to the account at the financial institution is NOT required (including NOT by QBCC)
  • the principal is not required to be notified of all payments to beneficiaries
  • trustees must keep a separate trust account ledger for each trust, carry out monthly bank reconciliations and engage an auditor to carry out an annual retention trust account review.

This infographic summarises the changes to the number and types of accounts required between the outgoing project bank account model and the incoming trust account framework.