Construction watchdog suspends subbies, builders over finance concerns

Queensland’s construction watchdog QBCC has suspended the licences of 71 builders and sub-contractors after they failed to provide proof of their financial health.

QBCC logo
The QBCC has formed a dedicated team to support those affected by the latest building company collapse. (Image source: QBCC)

The collapse of another building company in Queensland on Wednesday (24 August) has coincided with the state’s building regulator suspending scores of builders from taking on new work until they prove they are financially sound.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) announced it has acted against 71 building industry licensees who have so far failed to submit their financial reports to the regulator. 

The move comes as the collapse of Oracle Building Corporation, which trades under Oracle Platinum Homes, sends more shockwaves through the construction industry.

The annual reporting requirements, administered by QBCC, are an important measure to help protect consumers from financially unhealthy construction companies.

The QBCC website states that licensees must have sufficient assets and the financial means to complete the work for the homeowners or builders they’re contracted to licensees who do not submit their reports to the QBCC face potential regulatory action, such as no-new-work conditions, licence suspensions, and licence cancellations.

QBCC Commissioner Anissa Levy says the licensees were in category SC1, with an annual allowable turnover of up to $200,000.

“The licensees were reminded several times to lodge their reports but failed to submit the required information which was due on 31 March 2022,” Ms Levy says.

“If they still fail to lodge their financial reports, their licences are scheduled to be cancelled on or around 19 September 2022.

Ms Levy says the majority of licensees had lodged their reports. 

Annual financial reporting is required under the Minimum Financial Requirements (MFR) Regulation 2018.

QBCC review

The QBCC has itself been the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks, with the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) launching an investigation into the building regulator.

The CCC has received 30 complaints, up from 16 the previous year. The majority of the complaints came from within the QBCC, and two were made by the CCC.

In June, a damning report into the effectiveness of the QBCC recommended sweeping reforms to overhaul the troubled regulator after finding its organisational structure and processes were not fit for purpose.

Minister for Public Works and Procurement Mick de Brenni said an independent review of the QBCC’s governance framework had made 17 recommendations to help ensure the effective regulation of the Queensland building and construction industry.

Lead reviewer Jim Varghese AM said he was inundated with strong views and suggestions for improvement throughout the four-month review.

“It is important to avoid politicisation of the QBCC and focus on implementing practical recommendations for change,” Mr Varghese said.

“It is critical to create and maintain the momentum for effective change and to address the gap between where we are now and where the QBCC aspires to be as an outcomes-focused statutory agency.”

Mr de Brenni said the intent of all recommendations were either supported or supported in principle, noting further detailed analysis is needed for some recommendations, before deciding the best approach to achieve the outcome sought.

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