Understanding Defective Building Works: A Guide to QBCC Complaints and Claims

Previously, we’ve shared information and guidance about defective works[1]  to explain what they are, what they aren’t and any recourse you may have regarding construction work that’s not been completed to industry standard.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper and explain the QBCC’s role in dealing with defective works so you know what’s involved in filing a complaint and how to get the right result.

What is the QBCC?

If you’ve encountered issues with your building work in Queensland, you may have heard of the QBCC, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). This is a government organisation that oversees building and construction in Queensland, and it plays a critical role in addressing issues related to residential building works.

How Does the QBCC Help Consumers with Defective Building Works?

Early Dispute Resolution (EDR)

If your building work isn’t finished yet, the QBCC can help through Early Dispute Resolution (EDR). This is where the QBCC steps in to help you and your builder come to an agreement to move forward. It’s like having a mediator who helps both sides discuss it and find a solution. However, if either side doesn’t want to cooperate, the QBCC can’t force a resolution, and the EDR process ends there.

Post-Completion Complaints

Things change once your building work is complete. If you find defects after completion, the QBCC takes a more hands-on approach. They inspect your property and, if necessary, instruct the builder to fix the defects. This stage is governed by strict rules under the QBCC Act 1991 and QBCC Act Regulation 2018.

Why the difference? Before completion, a builder has the chance to rectify issues as part of the ongoing work. After completion, the QBCC steps in more firmly because the work is supposed to have been done and completed to standard.

Making a QBCC Complaint for Defective Works

When addressing a post-completion complaint, the QBCC is committed to identifying defects and having the builder fix them. So, if you’re at the stage of making a complaint after completion, here’s what typically happens:

  • List Your Complaints: Start by listing the defects and requesting your builder to fix them within a reasonable time frame.
  • Submit Your Complaint: If the builder doesn’t fix all issues, submit your list and a completed QBCC Defective Works Complaint Form to the QBCC.
  • Inspection Time: The QBCC then arranges an inspection, considering your and the builder’s availability. Before this inspection, builders often fix smaller, easier and less costly issues, such as filling and painting cracks or applying safety stickers to windows to present the works most favourably.
  • The Inspection: During the inspection, the QBCC checks these fixes and any other defects you’ve listed.
  • Grace Period: If the inspector finds problems, they’ll usually give the builder a short period to fix them before taking further action as one final chance before action under the Act is taken.
  • QBBC Directive: If the builder doesn’t fix the defects in time, the QBCC will issue a formal report and direction to rectify them according to the QBBC Act.
  • Final Steps: If the builder still doesn’t comply, you might be advised to claim under your Home Warranty Insurance for a resolution, which could be a cash settlement or a third-party contactor engaged to fix the issues. QBBC Home Warranty Insurance is covered in more detail here[1] .

What Complaints Does the QBCC Not Handle?

The QBCC doesn’t deal with all types of complaints. They focus on domestic residential buildings, not commercial, industrial or large-scale residential projects (like triplexes). They also don’t handle defective electrical work or purely cosmetic issues, such as a different carpet from that in the contract or non-structural defects within certain tolerances, such as a driveway crack within QBCC tolerances.

Need More Help?

As experts in the field, we offer advice and free consultations for both builders and homeowners dealing with defective work claims. Don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance.

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