Queensland Building Watchdog Comes to Life

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Thursday, December 5th, 2013
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Queensland now has a new building industry regulator as the government moves to enhance the accountability of construction industry regulation in the state.

On Tuesday, state Housing Minister Tim Mander announced that the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) had officially replaced the former Building Services Authority (BSA) and would now be responsible administering the licensing of contractors, dispute resolution and the Home Warranty Scheme.

Formed in response to recommendations of a Parliamentary Committee Inquiry, the QBCC will now be charged with implementing the government’s 10-point plan to improve regulation in the industry, under which the new body will review arrangements regarding domestic building contracts and private certification as well as implementing a new dispute resolution process.

Unlike the situation in Victoria, construction industry representatives in Queensland are generally supportive of the reform process amid strong perceptions the former BSA had been riddled with internal conflicts of interest. These will be prevented within the new body by firewalls between key divisions.

Still, Master Builders Association of Queensland executive director Grant Calvin said last week that further change was required, including expansion of Home Warranty Insurance to cover manufactured homes; the development of guidance regarding standards and tolerances as to what does and does not constitute defective work; aligning contractor requirements between the Domestic Building Contract Act, the Queensland Building Services Authority Act and the Australian Consumer Law; capping builder liability for latent defects at 10 years and introducing a continuing professional development (CPD) scheme to lift technical and contractual standards across the industry.

Mander says the reforms deliver on the need for a watchdog that “properly reflects the importance of the sector to the state’s economy.”

He says current licensees will be able to keep using their former BSA licence cards until a new QBCC card is issued at the next renewal date.

The board for the new watchdog was named last week, while a new Commissioner is yet to be appointed.

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