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BIFA – Amendment Act

Government Reforms to BIFA and Other Legislation

Introduction of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (Qld)

Just when you think you are starting to get a hang of all the changes that have been made since the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (Qld) (BIFA) commenced, overriding the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) (BCIPA) things look likely to change again! On 5 February 2020, the Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport introduced the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (Qld) into the State Parliament (the Bill).

The Bill aims to implement the recommendations from several government reviews into aspects of the building industry in Queensland.  Some of the reviews include the Building Industry Fairness Reforms Implementation and Evaluation Panel, the Special Joint Taskforce investigation into subcontractor non-payment, the Building Confidence Report and the Queensland Building Plan regarding the certification and inspection process. The Bill also intends to do the following:

  • enhance Queensland’s security of payment legislation and further extend the protections;
  • improve the Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s (QBCC) ability to address fraudulent behaviour;
  • enhance building industry regulatory oversight capabilities, clarify licensing requirements, improve building safety, support building industry professionals, improve professional standards and compliance in the certification sector, and enhance the regulation of architects and registered professional engineers; and
  • ensure the continuation of external review rights for decisions about transition plans for retirement village schemes.

The Bill, if passed, will make amendments to several acts including:

  • Architects Act 2002 (Qld)
  • Building Act 1975 (Qld)
  • Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (Qld) (BIFA)
  • Professional Engineers Act 2002 (Qld)
  • Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (Qld) (QBCCA)
  • Retirement Villages Act 1999

The areas we are particularly interested in are the changes to the BIFA and the QBCCA, which include:

  • simplifying project bank accounts so that the number required is reduced from three to two by no longer requiring the disputed funds trust account and only requiring a single retention trust account (where required);
  • expanding the requirement for project trust accounts to “supersubbies” (subcontractors who engage multiple sub-sbcontractors);
  • allowing for payment withholding request for an adjudicated amount to be sent by a subcontractor to the principal or by a head contractor to the financier;
  • allowing head contractors to lodge a charge over land where works took place if a developer does not pay an adjudicated amount;
  • creating an offence if the full scheduled amount in a payment schedule is not paid by the due date; and
  • increasing the penalties for various offences under the BIFA and QBCCA, especially in relation to false and misleading information.

The Bill has been referred to the Transport and Public Works Committee for detailed consideration[1], who are due to report back to the Parliament on the Bill by 20 March 2020.

We will keep you updated regarding the progress of the Bill following the Committee tabling its report in Parliament.

If you have any question regarding how these proposed changes may impact you, please feel free to contact us to get in touch.

 

[1] The Committee has called for public submissions by Wednesday, 26 February 2020 – details for making submissions can be found here and a guide to making submissions here.

Disclaimer
The content of this blog article is intended to provide general information as a summary of the subject matter, which is current at the time of publication. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as advice. Specialist advice should be obtained about your specific circumstances before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.