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31 Aug 17
Follow up - Non-conforming building products: Are you going to be personally liable for them?

WHO SHOULD READ THIS

  • Building industry participants including designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers of building products.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Those involved in the supply chain of building products will be required to ensure a product is safe and fit for purpose.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  • Review your position in the supply chain and ensure that any products being supplied by you, or to you, do not fall foul of the non-conforming building product requirements.

In a week of a significant change for the Queensland Building and Construction Industry, on 24 August 2017, new laws were passed by the Queensland Parliament amending the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991.

The amendments proposed in the Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld) (Bill) place duties on building supply chain participants in order to ensure building products used on Queensland projects are safe and fit for purpose.  Amendments have also been made to the Building Act 1975, the Pest Management Act 2001, and the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002.

You can read our initial focus article regarding the Bill here.

The above changes impose new responsibilities on those who design, manufacture, import, supply or install building products.

Under the new laws, parties in the building ‘chain of responsibility’ must:

  • not make false or misleading statements about a building product’s performance;
  • notify the QBCC of non-conforming building products; and
  • report notifiable health and safety incidents, breaches and risks to the QBCC.

New compliance and enforcement powers have been given to the QBCC, including the power to:

  • penalise those who breach their duties with respect to non-conforming building products;
  • enter a place for the purposes of carrying out compliance inspections, previously limited to a building site;
  • direct or take remedial action to make a place safe;
  • recall building products in existence and/or associated with buildings before the date of commencement;
  • take building products and samples for examination and testing; and
  • suspend or cancel a building contractor’s licence or take other disciplinary action if a QBCC licensee has caused death or serious injury or is causing serious risk to health and safety on a building site (please note that this power is only intended to apply to acts or ommissions after the commencement of the new laws).

Once operative, the new laws will apply to QBCC investigations that are not finished at the date of commencement.  Presently, the Bill as passed, has not yet commenced.
 
We will be discussing reforms to the Building and Construction Industry in Queensland with respect to non-conforming building products at our upcoming 17th Annual Construction Law Conference in Brisbane on 14 September 2017.  To register to attend, please click here.

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