Head contractors in Queensland get reprieve

Queensland’s head contractor licensing exemption will remain in force following extensive industry input, however, a regulation requiring licensing of head contractors for high-risk work may be introduced in the future.

This is the view of legal experts on the introduction of the Building and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (Qld) last week. If passed, it will mean that the current QBCC (Queensland Building Construction and Commission Act 1991) head contractor licensing exemption won’t be abolished as previously foreshadowed.

The exemption enables head contractors to engage licensed subcontractors to carry out elements of building work for which the head contractor may be unlicensed. While the exemption is expected to remain in situ, a licence category may be introduced for head contractors undertaking high-risk work, according to McCullough Robertson Lawyers.

The Bill introduced on 29 March 2022 proposes to remove the reference to the head contractor licensing exemption from the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (Qld) known as the BIFOLA Act.

“This will be welcome news for industry participants who have raised concerns regarding the additional costs and administrative burdens that would have resulted from the head contractor exemption being abolished,” McCullough Robertson said.

There were also industry concerns that unlicensed persons or entities could assume the role of head contractor without sufficient skills and experience to administer and manage the procurement of building work, particularly for complex projects or high-risk work.

The Queensland Parliamentary Counsel, which introduced the Bill, noted that it can respond to emerging issues as they arise while also “facilitating commercial contracting by allowing most unlicensed head contractors to continue entering building contractors that offer to procure building work”, McCullough Robertson Lawyers said.

IMAGE: Queens Wharf Brisbane under construction in 2021.

Source: Kgbo CC

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.