Queensland is set to implement a new building plan that will bring massive changes to many elements of the construction industry.

Major improvements to plumbing and drainage rules, building certification, licensing and the home warranty insurance along with an introduction of a new Housing Code are set to complement previously announced changes to security of payment and non-conforming building products under the 10-point-building plan.

Released in late October, the plan aims to improve building practices across 10 critical areas: security of payment, non-conforming products, plumbing and drainage, building certification, licensing, sustainability, liveable housing, accessible communities, the Queensland Housing Code and home warranty insurance.

The plan includes previously announced measures with respect to security of payment and addressing non-conforming building products.

On security of payment, the plan will require use of project bank accounts for all public-sector developments (except for engineering projects) valued at between $1 million and $10 million from 1 January next year and on all private sector projects valued at over $1 million after 1 January 2019. It will also consolidate two pieces of subcontractor payment legislation into one and beef up powers of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to regulate the industry.

On non-conforming products, new legislation enacted earlier this year has established a chain of responsibility to ensure that all parties within the supply chain are held responsible for non-conforming products.

In other areas, the plan intends to:

  • Establish new laws to prohibit the sale or installation of non-Watermark plumbing projects, slash approval times for building and plumbing work and enforce a new plumbing code
  • Improve professional standards and compliance within building certification
  • Strengthen penalties for unlicensed building work, beef up the regulatory framework for house energy assessors and mechanical services, establish a register for builders and tradespeople as well as building certifiers, make it easier for local licences to work on government projects by eliminating the need for prequalification on projects of less than $1 million and conduct a regulatory impact statement on the potential of introducing continuing professional development
  • Remove unnecessary restrictions on solar hot water panels, trial the application of Green Star rating tools, develop Queensland Development Codes to provide standards for green roofs and green walls in commercial buildings
  • Investigate an accessibility disclosure scheme for properties for rent, sale and construction
  • Require accessible sanitary facilities in all new public facilities and develop a Queensland Development Code to improve facilities in large public venues such as stadiums, theatres and shopping centres
  • Finalise a Queensland Housing Code for contemporary sitting and design rules and a Reconfiguring a Lot Code to provide model subdivision standards
  • Improve the state’s Home Warranty Insurance scheme by including the scheme’s coverage to improve prefabricated homes and work within the ‘building envelope’ such as timing and residential pools; developing options take into account licensee conduct and history of defective work when setting premiums and income coverage of buildings above three storeys; and provide more flexibility in the scheme.

The release of the plan comes as the state gears up for the upcoming election on November 25.

The most important election battleground as far as the building industry is concerned appears to revolve around infrastructure, with Labor planning to spend $21 billion over four years advancing transport and the Opposition LNP promising to build roads and dams and introduce planning commission’s for hospitals and schools.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the plan was a blueprint for ongoing confidence in the industry.

“The Queensland Building Plan is the result of almost two years of consultation with industry and the community,” de Brenni said.

“This is a comprehensive plan to secure the future of the sector and I would like to thank everyone who has had their say on the proposed reforms.”