Australia: Proposed changes to domestic building contracts in Queensland

Last Updated: 2 September 2014
Article by Andrew McCormack


The Queensland Government has recently released the Queensland Building and Construction Commission and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (the Bill) which will repeal the Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000 (Qld) (DBC Act).

Domestic building contracts are construction contracts governing "domestic building work", which includes: 1

  • the erection and construction of detached dwellings;
  • renovation, alteration, extension, improvement or repair of a home; and
  • removal or resiting work for a detached dwelling.

Domestic building contracts do not include:

  1. contracts between building contractors and subcontractors or;
  2. contracts for the construction of 2 or more detached dwellings.2

This position will not change under the proposed new legislation.


The Bill will consolidate the statutory regulation of domestic building contracts by inserting a new Schedule 1B (Domestic building contracts) into the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (QBCC Act), the principal piece of legislation governing building contracts in Queensland. 3

The Government's stated intent is to enhance protection for consumers while also reducing excessive red tape associated with domestic building contracts.

Click here to access a full copy of the Bill and Explanatory Notes.


The Bill introduces two levels of domestic building contracts based on the value of the work being performed. Contracts will be considered either a 'level 1 regulated contract' or a 'level 2 regulated contract'.

Level 1 regulated contracts are contracts below a certain value and level 2 regulated contracts are contracts with a value above that threshold value. The draft regulation containing the prescribed value threshold has not yet been published.

In practical terms, the two tier system will see level 1 contracts subject to less regulation than level 2 contracts.

Different legislative requirements will apply for level 1 and level 2 regulated contracts. The key differences between the two types of contracts are:

  • provisions which must be included in the relevant domestic building contract;
  • the statutory cooling off period ;
  • deposits; and
  • the documents a building contractor must provide to a building owner.

A list of the key changes under the draft Bill are summarised in Diagram 1.

Diagram 1



Domestic building work

Domestic building work is defined to include:

  1. the erection or construction of a detached dwelling ;
  2. renovation, alteration, extension, improvement or repair of a home; and
  3. removal or resiting work for a detached dwelling.
The Bill expands the definition of domestic building work to include the installation of kit homes.
Provisions of the contract A regulated contract must be in written form, include any plans and specifications for the subject work and contain other specified matters such as the location of the works, the contract price and the building contractor's licence number.

The Bill imposes different content requirements for level 1 and level 2 regulated contracts.

Level 1 regulated contracts

Level 1 regulated contracts must contain inclusions substantially similar to those required under the DBC Act.

Level 2 regulated contracts

Level 2 regulated contracts must contain:

  • a provision stating the start date for the subject work;
  • plans and specifications (including those required for carrying out work in compliance with development approvals or similar authorisations);
  • a statement of each of the statutory warranties that apply to subject work; and
  • a warning placed next to the contract price if the contract price (or its method of calculation) can be varied under the contract.
Consumer building guide

The QBCC is required to approve a contract information statement for the benefit of building owners containing information about:

  • the rights and duties of building owners and building contractors; and
  • dispute resolution procedures.

The Bill now makes provision for the QBCC to publish a consumer building guide.

The guide will contain information about:

  • warnings about cost plus contracts;
  • information about the cooling off period;
  • deposit and progress payment requirements;
  • statutory warranties; and
  • dispute resolution procedures.
Cooling Off Period

A building owner may withdraw from a domestic building contract within 5 business days after the receipt day for the contract.

The receipt day is defined as the day on which the owner receives a copy of the signed contract and a copy of the appropriate contract information statement.

The Bill retains the 5 business day cooling off period under the DBC Act.

If a building owner under a level 2 regulated contract does not receive a copy of the consumer building guide before receiving a copy of the contract, the owner may withdraw within 5 business days after receiving the guide.


A building contractor cannot receive a deposit which is:

  • more than 10% of the contract price if the contract value is below $20,000; or
  • more than 5% of the contract price if the contract value is above $20,000.

For level 1 regulated contracts, the deposit can be no more than 10% of the contract price.

For level 2 regulated contracts, the deposit can be no more than 5% of the contract price.

For level 1 or level 2 regulated contracts under which the value of off-site work is more than 50% of the contract price, a deposit of no more than 20% of the contract price can be claimed.

Documents to be provided by a building contractor

A building contractor is required to give a building owner a signed copy of the contract within 5 business days of entering the contract.

Contract Information Statement
A contractor is also required to give the owner a copy of an appropriate contract information statement.

The requirement for a signed copy of the contract to be given to a building owner within 5 business days is retained in the Bill for all contracts.

Level 2 regulated contracts

The Bill requires a contractor to give a building owner a commencement notice which notes:

  • the date works commenced on the building site; and
  • the date for practical completion of the works within 10 business days of starting the work.

The contractor must give the building owner a copy of the consumer building guide before the contract is signed.


The Bill has been referred to the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee for review and is due to be tabled in parliament on 8 October 2014.

Subject to further amendments to the draft Bill, the legislation is likely to come into force in late 2014/early 2015.


1 Section 8 of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000 (Qld).
2 Section 7(2) of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 2000 (Qld).
3 The Bill forms part of the Government's response to the recommendations of the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee's Report No. 14, Inquiry into the Operation and Performance of the Queensland Building Services Authority 2012.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Coutts Solicitors & Conveyancers
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Coutts Solicitors & Conveyancers
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions