Non-conforming building products – chain of responsibility

Proposed amendments to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act) (introduced to Queensland Parliament on 26 May 2017) will address a growing problem of non-conforming building products (NCBPs) and attempt to eliminate the use of unsafe building products across Queensland building sites, by introducing a ‘chain of responsibility’ for the supply of building products.

NCBPs are building products and materials that are marketed and supplied with misleading claims about their quality or purpose or that do not meet the required standard.

The amendments to the QBCC Act will require participants in the building product supply chain, (including designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers) to, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that the building products that they design, make, supply or install … are safe and fit for their intended purpose. 

QBCC will be able to address a point of failure in the supply chain and direct a party responsible for an NCBP to replace it or to fix a problem relating to it or to be liable for an offence relating to its supply and installation.

Presently, QBCC is only able to inspect active sites. The proposed amendments to the QBCC Act will extend QBCC’s powers to:-

  • audit and inspect buildings that are not active building sites;
  • enter a building or a site to collect samples for testing;
  • require participants in the supply chain to provide information;
  • direct rectification;
  • declare a building or a building site, as unsafe;
  • prosecute offences relating to the supply and installation of an NCBP; and
  • recall NCBPs and issue public warnings about them.

It is anticipated the maximum penalty available to be imposed on participants in the supply chain ($121,600.00!) for breaching the duty in relation to NCBPs, will act as a deterrent and emphasise the seriousness of the offences.

As is often the case, the real benefit of the amendments and the recognition and regulation of NCBPs, will depend upon how the Commission implements the new provisions of the QBCC Act.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on:

 

Brendan Bathersby

Partner

(07) 5443 4866

bbathersby@gwlaw.com.au

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Phone: (07) 5443 4866

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