The importance of making sure your builder is licensed

1 March 2023

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) have recently been cracking down on the licensing of builders, with many licenses set to be cancelled if financial reporting requirements are not met by 6 March 2023.

License requirements

It is an offence under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 for any person to carry out building work over the value of $3,300 without the appropriate class of license.

There are many classes of license provided by the QBCC, and the relevant license(s) required depend on the works being carried out.

The QBCC has a number of annual reporting requirements associated with the license classes, and may suspend or cancel a license if these requirements are not met within the stipulated timeframes.

There are ranging penalties that can be imposed for the carrying out of unlicensed building works, and a person who carries out building work without the appropriate license is not entitled to any monetary or other consideration for doing so.

What this means for bodies corporate

Body corporates should ensure that they are checking the licensing status of the builders and contractors engaged to carry out works at the scheme.

If a builder or contractor is unlicensed it could result in works being suspended until such a time that the builder’s licensing issues are resolved. Further, if the contractor cannot resolve its licensing issues in time and their license is cancelled, the body corporate could be required to terminate the contract with the current contractor and acquire a new contractor to take over the partially completed works.  This can create time, cost and liability implications for a body corporate.

Accordingly, a body corporate should carry out checks to ensure that the contractor is both:

  1. currently licensed; and
  2. holding the correct class of license for the specific works being carried out.

As a builder or contractor’s license can be suspended or cancelled at any time, these license checks should be carried out not only when a body corporate is first entering into a contract with a builder or contractor, but also on a routine basis to ensure that any repairs, maintenance or renovations are being carried out by persons that are adequately licensed.

What happens if a body corporate identifies an unlicensed contractor?

If a body corporate identifies that a contractor is currently unlicensed it should immediately contact the contractor to discuss its licensing status and obtain the relevant licensing information before the works progress any further.

In addition, a body corporate may have rights to:

  1. suspend and/or terminate a contract for building works, if the contractor is found to be unlicensed; and
  2. recover monies paid to a contractor for works carried out while the contractor was unlicensed.