Subcontracting and the dangers of carrying out unlicensed building work

We’ve recently met with a spate of subcontractors seeking our assistance with payment issues, only to discover that they are operating through a company/trust structure and the company doesn’t have a QBCC licence!

Typically, these subbies are unaware that the company must have its own licence. Instead, they have been relying on their personal QBCC licence .

If you are carrying out building work through a company and not under your own name, your company must be independently licensed with the QBCC. If it’s not, the company is carrying out unlicensed building work. This is an offence under the QBCC Act and severe penalties apply.

Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is no defence. These subbies are now facing the prospect of being issued with a fine, demerit points and a potential loss of licence. To make matters worse, they’re also unable to recover payment for the full value of the work carried out. Under the QBCC Act, an unlicensed builder is only entitled to be paid for their “hard costs”. That is, they can only claim payment for amounts that they’ve incurred to carry out the building work (e.g. material costs and amounts paid to other contractors). They are not entitled to receive any amount for profit or payment for their own labour. Cleary, this can end up being a very expensive mistake.

Please let this serve as a reminder to those in the building industry to check that they are complying with their licensing requirements. If you are unsure, call us for advice and we’ll ensure that you’re on track! And remember, at Axia Litigation Lawyers, every move matter.

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