Ministerial Construction Council
The Ministerial Construction Council (MCC) provides a platform for key stakeholders and statutory bodies to discuss matters relating to the building construction industry.
Previous MCC meeting minutesExpand all
3 March 2021
Ministerial Construction Council—3 March 2021, Brisbane
On 3 March 2021, the Ministerial Construction Council (Council) held its first meeting of the year.
The Council noted that Building Ministers have committed to settling a position on including minimum accessibility standards for residential dwellings in the National Construction Code in early 2021. The Council heard from community, disability and human rights stakeholders who outlined the benefits to individuals, the community and the building industry that mandating an access standard could have. Stakeholders also highlighted Australia’s international obligations and noted the failure of voluntary initiatives to increase consistent uptake of accessibility features, some of which are now common design choices. The Council agreed to provide feedback to guide Queensland’s position.
The Council noted the government’s significant progress against its reform agenda, with all key priorities for phases 1 to 3 of the Queensland Building Plan having been delivered and significant progress made on some phase 4 and 5 activities.
The Council was also invited to provide input on a proposed workplan to December 2022. The workplan covers several key priorities, including a number of election commitments aimed at promoting fairness, safety and sustainability in Queensland’s building and construction industry. Members were assured that a proposed phased approach to this work ensures that industry can fully participate in the reform process, have time to prepare for any changes and plan for the future.
Council members noted the statutory requirement to conduct a review of the role of developers in the building and construction industry, as outlined in section 115D of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991. Council input was sought on a draft Terms of Reference for an independent panel that will be stood up to review the role of developers in the building and construction industry. Consisting of independent experts, the Panel will consider the impact that developers have on security of payment, consumer rights and the quality and safety of building practices in Queensland. Members were invited to provide feedback on the draft Terms of Reference and nominate potential appointees to both the panel and its associated Industry Reference Group by 19 March 2021.
The Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) outlined its proposed regulatory approach in relation to Minimum Financial Requirements for licensing in 2021, including its proposed focus on education and guidance material. Members noted that, with the commencement of the QBCC’s Tradie Tour, individual assistance is available to licensees, to assist them in meeting their obligations. Council members noted the regulatory approach agreed by MCC on 7 July 2020. Given some instances of failure to report, council members agreed to assist with advising their members of their obligations and the support available.
The Minister thanked all members for their ongoing commitment to the Council and their contribution to delivering a safer, fairer and more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland.
7 July 2020
COVID-19 Industry Teleconference Outcomes – 7 July 2020
On 7 July 2020, Minister de Brenni convened a teleconference of the Ministerial Construction Council, Building Recovery Group and other key industry representatives (the group) to consider a range of matters relevant to the building and construction industry.
The group noted that, due to other priorities related to the COVID-19 response, the temporary measures that allow building certifiers to hold a licence, even if they hold Professional Indemnity Insurance with certain cladding exclusions, would be extended. The group was comfortable with extending the relevant exemption period from 30 June 2021 to 30 June 2022, noting that the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) would consider this proposed extension when accepting applications from licensees.
Members were briefed on work under the Queensland Government’s Economic Recovery Strategy – Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs, noting that, as a result of industry consultation, a range of economic recovery measures were being developed, in addition to the measures already announced. Members noted that industry recovery blueprints were being prepared and would continue to be refined.
An update was provided on the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill), including the 12 recommendations of the Transport and Public Works Committee (the Committee). Minister de Brenni noted the group would be provided with early advice about developments in relation to the Bill and there was broad discussion about the Committee’s recommendations, including the recommendation relating to the role of developers in the building industry.
The QBCC sought endorsement of its proposed regulatory approach during COVID-19, including its proposed response to licensees who report hardship as a result of the pandemic. The group endorsed the proposed approach, noting that the Queensland Building and Construction (QBC) Board would provide further advice to the Minister about the application of the framework.
The Compulsory Continuing Professional Development (CCPD) Subcommittee presented its Final Report for consideration and endorsement. The group endorsed the report and noted that the Department of Housing and Public Works would now consider the report and provide advice to the Minister.
Finally, the Minister provided members with an update on the government’s election commitment to consider an entry-level form of registration for recently graduated engineers in Queensland. Members were informed that consultation revealed that there were differing views about the value of such a registration and that that the Governments focus of would remain on reforms to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
Group members are invited to provide further input through the secretariat: OADG.BLP@hpw.qld.gov.au.
26 May 2020
COVID-19 Industry Teleconference Outcomes – 26 May 2020
On 26 May 2020, members of the Ministerial Construction Council, Building Recovery Group and other key industry representatives met by teleconference to consider matters of importance to the building and construction industry.
Minister de Brenni gave an update on the Queensland Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and noted that all year levels were back at school with a very high level of attendance. The Minister also welcomed the Local Government Association of Queensland, Property Council of Australia, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Strata Community Association Queensland as new members of the Ministerial Construction Council.
Members of the group were then briefed on the implementation of the new licensing requirements for mechanical services, which commenced on 1 January 2020. He advised members that, due to COVID-19, businesses that were struggling to meet the timeframe to become licensed would be supported with transitional arrangements allowing the QBCC to issue conditional licenses for a limited time.
As the State’s largest employer, the recovery of the building and construction industry is a key priority for government. The Minister referred to the recent launch of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Strategy, which outlines guiding principles for the state’s path out of the pandemic. Members were given an opportunity to comment on the development of a building and construction industry recovery blueprint and were invited to provide further feedback following the teleconference.
The Minister also provided an overview of the implementation timeframes for the reforms in the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 which remains a key priority for government. It was agreed that, in light of the pandemic, flexibility will be needed around the timing of certain aspects of the Bill, including the trust account framework, as businesses deal with other priorities.
The group noted an agenda paper on the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 and were invited to be involved in the development of an extraordinary regulation designed to support industry and regulators manage the impacts of the COVID-19 restrictions.
Finally, group members considered Terms of Reference for a forum to assist the QBCC in developing its regulatory approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum will provide input to the design of a framework, including a regulatory guide, that will articulate the regulator’s approach to licensees that have been genuinely impacted by COVID-19.
Members are invited to provide further input through the secretariat: OADG.BLP@hpw.qld.gov.au
23 April 2020
COVID-19 Industry Teleconference Outcomes – 23 April 2020
On 23 April 2020, members of the Ministerial Construction Council, Building Recovery Group and other key industry representatives met by teleconference to consider matters of importance to the building and construction industry.
Minister de Brenni gave an update about the Queensland Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and reconfirmed the Government’s commitment to keep the building and construction sector operating effectively during what is a difficult time for everyone.
Members were provided with a summary of matters to be considered at the Building Ministers’ Forum on 23 April 2020 including the impact of COVID-19 on the building industry, a definition of complex buildings, and public reporting of Building Confidence Report progress. Members considered that the proposed definition of complex buildings would benefit from further work prior to being included in the National Construction Code. With the agreement of members, the Minister committed to write to the Chair of the Building Ministers’ Forum outlining the views of the building and construction industry in Queensland.
Members were also briefed on the content of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 as it relates to the building industry. The bill, considered in the Legislative Assembly at its 22 April 2020 sitting, provides broad powers that allow the Queensland Government to intervene, where needed, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, manage disruptions, and allow industry and the economy to keep operating in a flexible way.
The department will continue to work with industry to provide support to the sector including any proposed regulatory changes.
An update was also provided on Minimum Financial Requirements annual reporting, noting that over 70% of contractors have lodged their annual reporting. The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is continuing to assist industry with compliance by holding monthly stakeholder meetings to answer questions relating to Minimum Financial Requirements and annual reporting.
Members welcomed advice from the regulator that work is underway on a COVID-19 Regulatory Approach in consultation with industry to outline how the QBCC will respond to the impacts of COVID-19. Members were thanked for the valuable contributions they made to the QBCC’s understanding of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the building and construction industry and where particular challenges may be faced over the coming weeks and months. Members agreed it is important for the QBCC to maintain a regulatory presence, particularly in relation to building and product safety, unlicensed building work and security of payment.
The Minister thanked members for their continuing commitment to the expanded Council and for their contributions to the COVID-19 response to ensure the safety and viability of the building and construction industry in Queensland.
Members are invited to provide further input through the secretariat: OADG.BLP@hpw.qld.gov.au
7 April 2020
QBCC regulatory approach during impacts of COVID-19: industry stakeholder engagement meeting minutes
Meeting Date: Tuesday 7 April 2020, 10:00am – 11:06am
Acknowledgement of Country
Mr Brett Bassett, Commissioner of the QBCC acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, and paid respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
Mr Brett Bassett welcomed attendees to the call, thanking them for their time and noting that the QBCC greatly values the input of the sector regarding how the QBCC will regulate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Bassett stated that the QBCC must ensure that the regulatory approach during this time considers the current environment in which we are all operating, and will focus on the greatest risks.
Purpose of meeting
Ms Kate Raymond reiterated the purpose of the meeting, noting that some temporary changes may be appropriate to the regulatory approach, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The QBCC is looking to publish an additional regulatory guide which will set out the approach to regulating the industry through the impacts of COVID-19.
Ms Raymond noted that the QBCC, together with Government, acknowledges the financial hardship licensees may be experiencing, along with difficulties due to government directives, such as social distancing.
It was noted that any changes adopted, would concern regulatory actions such as penalties or licence suspensions. The QBCC is not looking to relax requirements to pay subcontractors or carry out work safely. The QBCC must however balance the interest of licensees and home owners in proposing the amended regulatory approach during the impacts of COVID-19.
Feedback from industry
Mr Bassett called upon individual entities to provide their feedback and input on the QBCC Regulatory approach during impacts of COVID-19.
The key issues raised by industry stakeholders were:
Relaxation of licensing fees and whether this was a possibility during this time.
Liquidated damages clauses due to implied contract terms for any stopped work due to COVID-19 and the need for a provision for suspensions without penalty due to COVID-19.
ACTION: Ms Suzanne Rainbow to send email with concerns to Mr Richard Cassidy for inclusion in discussions with Premier and Cabinet.
Supply Chain issues including supply timeframes not meeting builder timeframes and the rising cost of product, after receiving correspondence from a main wholesaler, indicating a 10% or more price increase as of 1 May 2020
Cancellation of projects across the state.
ACTION: Ms Alice-Ann McRobbie to send statistics on cancellation of projects to Mr Brett Bassett and Mr Richard Cassidy. Any other entity requiring this information to contact Jodie Siebert, Senior Executive Coordinator, Office of the Commissioner.
Inspections unable to take place due to government directives. Some owners have refused entry to building certifiers on commercial projects. The biggest concern for the NFIA is that building managers and body corporates are attempting to halt testing, repairs and maintenance in buildings, which poses and significant fire risk.
ACTION: Mr Richard Cassidy to circulate endorsed answers from Queensland Health regarding issues arising from last week’s MCC meeting, as well as meeting notes to attendees on 7 April 2020.
Trade Credit reduction due to the QBE reduction of trade credit insurance to 50% of the original insurance, which will have a significant impact on the ability of the supply chain to obtain products and expose suppliers to potential bad debt.
Potential shut down of the industry which may result in the inability to obtain payment for work undertaken. These circumstances may require flexibility from the QBCC during MFR auditing.
Public Health and Safety concern regarding home owner DIY plumbing including installing bidets and hoses to toilets.
Payments from homeowners who may have lost their job to COVID-19 and then are unable to pay builders. This also impacts the builder’s ability to pay sub-contractors, which in turn, is a breach of the Minimum Financial Requirements.
Mental health and wellbeing of licence holders during this time.
Ms Kate Raymond then spoke to matters that could be considered by the QBCC in response to concerns. One option is for the QBCC to consider non-financial penalties where possible for offences. This would not apply to serious breaches, multiple offences and recidivous behaviour.
Mr Paul Bidwell requested further information on what the QBCC will be pursuing during this time.
Ms Raymond requested any feedback regarding this consideration to be sent via email.
It was noted that in regards to inspections, the QBCC could look at whether some matters could be put on hold during this time. This would not include matters where the complaint concerns the structural integrity of the building or could impact health or safety.
Ms Raymond advised that a different approach to debts is also an option. For example, if genuine attempts can be identified that the builder has commenced paying the debt, the regulatory action may be placed in abeyance in those instances. It was noted that the regulatory action does not alter the existence of the debt.
In regards to MFR, Ms Raymond asked whether there was any feedback on the idea of splitting up the licencing categories into three groups (currently in two groups for the regulatory approach), namely SC1 and SC2; categories 1-3; and categories 4-7. Mr Paul Bidwell noted concerns surrounding the doubt surrounding certain categories would comply at all due to impacts of COVID-19.
It was noted that SC1 – category 3 licensees already have until 31 December 2020 to meet the MFR under the current regulatory approach unless there is another risk factor or regulatory action for the licensee e.g. monies owned complaint. In light of COVID-19 issues, other options could be considered, depending on the risk.
Ms Raymond discussed the ability to continue to conduct inspections to certify, noting that where a licensee is unable to perform an obligation due to COVID, the QBCC would not look to impose a penalty. Ms Yvonne Pengilly noted that the QBCC will be looking at desktop audits and there will be consideration regarding timing. Mr Bidwell suggested that certifiers need to issue an interim certificate of classification. Mr Bassett requested an example of a certifier not being able to gain access to a specific site.
ACTION: Mr Bidwell to provide Mr Bassett with example instances where a certifier has been unable to attend a site.
M Raymond noted that the QBCC are currently working on how inspections can be undertaken remotely by obtaining photographic and video evidence from home owners. At this stage, the QBCC are currently still attending physical inspections whilst adhering to social distancing rules.
Mr Michael Roberts requested the statistics of licensee cancellations and the drop in home warranty insurance payments. Mr Bassett advised that this information can be sent through to Mr Roberts.
ACTION: Mr Bassett to send statistics regarding licence cancellations and drop in home warranty insurance payments to Mr Roberts.
Mr Brett Bassett advised that any changes to the regulatory approach will have applied flexibility, whilst remaining transparent and supported by law in decisions made.
The QBCC must undergo an internal process before the amended regulatory approach can be finalised. This includes meeting with the Sub-Committee of the QBC Board Regulatory and Resolution Committee where guidance will be sought from members. The QBC Board will also be engaged.
The feedback from this industry group will continue to inform the QBCC approach.
The Department of Housing and Public Works as well as the Minister’s office will also be engaged with as the QBCC progresses these considerations.
The QBCC Commissioner closed the meeting at 11:06am, thanking all attendees for their time and input.
1 April 2020
COVID-19 Industry Teleconference Outcomes - 1 April 2020
On 1 April 2020, members of the Ministerial Construction Council, Building Recovery Group and other key industry representatives met by teleconference to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the building and construction industry.
The Minister thanked participants for their efforts in ensuring the building and construction industry is continuing to operate effectively and for working together to ensure continuity of work on projects across Queensland. Importance was placed on ensuring as many people as possible can continue to work and on demonstrating that the industry can continue to operate while meeting all relevant health directives, including appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures, not only on-site, but also when travelling to and from sites.
The Minister informed members that the Transport and Public Works Committee (Committee) had handed down its report on the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 and thanked members for their contributions. The Committee made 12 recommendations, including that the Bill be passed. The Minister assured members that security of payment remains a priority and that the Queensland Government will ensure the Bill is progressed as soon as it is possible to do so.
Mr Brett Bassett, Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Committee (QBCC), updated members on QBCC licensing and insurance data, which suggests there is a slight decrease in building confidence due to COVID-19. This is considered, in part, to be due to homeowners being concerned about physical distancing and having tradespersons in their homes.
Mr Bassett also informed members that the QBCC will be seeking sector feedback about its regulatory approach during this period. The key focus for the QBCC is to maintain the financial stability of the sector, maintain safety in the built environment and take the appropriate regulatory approach based on licensees’ circumstances and considering any COVID-19 related issues. The Commissioner reported that the QBCC had already received feedback from industry about possible steps going forward and that a teleconference would be convened with interested members.
Ms Ainslie Barron, Executive Director, Building Legislation and Policy, Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) provided members with a summary of the feedback received from industry through a survey conducted prior to the teleconference to identify industry concerns. This included issues around:
- performance of the sector: including direct impacts on site (e.g. implementing physical distancing, including when travelling to and from work, hygiene and sanitation concerns, and working consistently with existing Workplace Health and Safety requirements); an emerging impact on operating costs (due to the lower Australian dollar, sourcing alternative suppliers, and sub- contractors being asked to absorb price increases); and a fall in consumer confidence (being felt particularly in the residential sector, with design work and for surveyors);
- supply chain disruption: including concerns about a reduction or discontinuation of credit from suppliers; price increases due to a weaker Australian dollar; reports of some insurers not offering debt insurance for new clients; emerging concerns over what a lock down means for the manufacturing sector; questions over how long local stocks of inputs will last; and a strong reported demand for personal protective equipment.
- workforces: including business adaptation to the new conditions (reductions of work hours, stand downs or leave, and work from home arrangements, where appropriate); higher absenteeism from illness amongst staff, set against difficulties in obtaining workers (as labour hire has decreased), and the impact of travel restrictions; the contraction of work; and concerns that legislative requirements are not be being met (e.g. refusal of entry onto commercial premises).
Liza Carroll, Director-General, DHPW asked members to provide further feedback about the key issues of concern to the industry and these were discussed in the meeting.
The Minister thanked members for their contribution and assured members that DHPW will work collaboratively across government and industry to develop a response to each of the issues.
Members are invited to provide further input through the secretariat: OADG.BLP@hpw.qld.gov.au.
11 March 2020
COVID-19 Industry Teleconference Outcomes - 11 March 2020
Date and time: Wednesday, 11 March 2020, 12.10 – 12.20pm
Update on COVID-19 situation
- The Minister opened the teleconference and provided an overview of the COVID- 19 virus, noting that the virus can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold through to more severe conditions.
- Members were advised that Queensland is at a different stage of the response compared to other states. It is important that Queenslanders obtain information on the virus directly from the Queensland Health website (www.health.qld.gov.au) for accurate, up to date, advice.
- The Minister assured members that the Queensland Government is well placed to respond to an outbreak and has undertaken simulation scenario testing and whole of government planning. At the time of the teleconference (11 March 2020), there were 20 cases in Queensland. Queensland Health is currently able to track and manage the spread of the virus.
Departmental planning activities
- The Minister advised the Department of Housing and Public Works is making plans for an impact on staff and contractors. Activities to date include:
- advising staff to consider what they can do personally to manage the spread and impact of the virus and directing them to the Queensland Health website
- establishing an internal taskforce to coordinate planning and preparation and identify possible impacts
- prioritising service delivery outcomes to ensure Queenslanders are able to continue to access the support they need
- reviewing business continuity plans.
- A key focus has been on workforce planning, IT support, accommodation options and supply chain dependencies.
- Staff have been advised that they may access flexible work arrangements or special leave if they are not sick but are required to self-isolate. Sick leave and carers leave may also be accessed in accordance with relevant human resources policies.
- In terms of impacts specifically for MCC members and the broader building and construction industry, the Minister advised that key areas of impact such as supply chain matters are being investigated and there are already indications of supply chain issues. This has been identified in Government projects and through initial conversations with the Building Recovery Group and it is expected to increase.
- The Minister also reinforced that the Department continues to prioritise the proposed Building Industry Fairness and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to implement further security of payment reforms.
- Managing this virus is important in delivering a safe and sustainable building and construction industry for Queensland and members were encouraged to work with their networks to put in place their own preparations for any impacts of COVID-19 on their staff and businesses and to review business continuity plans.
Comments and questions
- Members were invited to provide comment or raise any concerns through the Secretariat: OADG.BLP@hpw.qld.gov.au.
- The Minister thanked everyone for attending and closed the teleconference.
22 January 2020
22 January 2020, Brisbane
On 22 January 2020, the Ministerial Construction Council (Council) held its first meeting of the year in Brisbane.
The Department of Housing and Public Works provided a summary of key discussions from the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) meeting held in Canberra on 13 December 2019. The BMF discussions focussed on the availability of professional indemnity insurance for certifiers and the formation of a Building Confidence Report (BCR) implementation team. The implementation team aims to action the BCR’s recommendations and address identified issues facing the building and construction industry.
The Council noted that BMF Ministers intend to meet in Brisbane in mid-2020, where matters including continuing professional development and women’s participation in the building and construction industry would be considered. An extraordinary meeting, intended for February, will progress reforms in relation to the design, construction and certification of complex buildings.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) provided an update on the rollout of the new rules around Minimum Financial Requirements (MFR), including compliance with the requirement for all licensed contractors to provide MFR reports by 31 December 2019.
A key focus of the meeting was continued consultation on the proposed legislative amendments being progressed in response to the Building Industry Fairness Evaluation Panel (the Panel) report and Special Joint Taskforce, including security of payment and certification reforms. A draft Bill was circulated, and the Council noted that the draft was substantially consistent with the recommendations of the Panel.
The Council noted the appointment of Mr Peter Koutsoukis as Chair of the Safer Buildings Taskforce, formerly the Non-Conforming Building Products Taskforce. Feedback was also sought on the Queensland Government’s submission to the UK inquiry into the Grenfell tower tragedy. The submission outlines the steps taken by the Queensland Government and provides a model for other jurisdictions to identify non-conforming building products, support industry in managing these products and promote public safety.
The Council was also briefed on current approaches to ‘reverse factoring’ and the potential benefits of introducing environmental upgrade agreements (EUAs) for Queensland, noting that EUAs have delivered significant sustainability improvements for commercial buildings in other Australian jurisdictions.
The Council noted reports from its subcommittees including the review of restricted builder licences, fairness in contracting, fire protection and compliance, project leadership and governance, increasing female participation in the building and construction industry and compulsory continuing professional development.
The Minister thanked the members for their continuing commitment to the Council and contribution to delivering a safer, fairer and more sustainable building and construction industry for Queensland. The Council will reconvene, face to face and subject to need, in advance of the BMF meeting in mid-2020.
3 December 2019
3 December 2019, Gold Coast
On 3 December 2019, the Ministerial Construction Council (Council) met at the Southport Sharks Australian Football Club on the Gold Coast.
Mr Brett Bassett, Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) provided an update about the mechanical services licensing framework, due to commence on 1 January 2020. The new laws recognise existing individuals and companies performing this work, while enabling existing workers two years to meet the requirements if they work for an appropriately licensed contractor.
Mr Bassett also advised members of the QBCC’s work relating to the Minimum Financial Requirements, which requires licensed contractors to provide the QBCC with annual reports. Mr Bassett reported that the new reporting requirements commenced on 1 January 2019 and has injected over $1.2 billion in capital into the industry. Industry engagement will be elevated to ensure maximum uptake to the 31 December 2019 reporting timeline.
Mr Bassett explained how the QBCC is continuing to assist building owners to complete the combustible cladding checklist through the Safer Building Program.
Following a discussion on project management, the Council agreed to establish a subcommittee to progress recommendations relating to leadership and governance of all projects, including by licensed project managers. This work will additionally inform Queensland’s position in relation to the design, construction and certification of complex buildings in accordance with Building Confidence Report recommendations.
Mr Philip Halton, Deputy Commissioner of the QBCC informed the members about the progress of the Building Confidence – Compulsory Continuing Professional Development (CCPD) subcommittee, which has met three times since being established in October 2019.The subcommittee continues to develop a CCPD framework which will support the industry and has recommended the framework for a national CPD to be informed by the proposed Queensland framework. The relevant subcommittee will develop a paper for the Council’s consideration on the competencies and professional standards for site and project managers.
The Minister gave members an update about the work of the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) and its upcoming meeting on 13 December 2019, including the establishment of a dedicated implementation team under the Australian Building Codes Board for the Building Confidence Report. The Minister invited input on the development of Queensland positions for BMF agenda items.
The Council was updated about the proposed legislative amendments being progressed in response to two independent reports into the building and construction industry and to enhance the building certification system. The Minister advised that implementing the government responses to the Building Industry Fairness Reforms Implementation and Evaluation Panel report and the Special Joint Taskforce report will further strengthen and expand Queensland’s nation-leading safeguards for subcontractor payments. The certification reforms will improve independence and the professional standards and compliance of certifiers. Council members were invited to participate in the relevant, existing subcommittees to provide feedback on the draft legislation in late 2019 and early 2020. Council members will also be consulted on the regulation detail that will support the security of payment reforms.
The Minister thanked all members for their ongoing engagement and support throughout 2019, which assisted the government to deliver a safer, fairer and more sustainable building and construction industry for Queensland.
Approved by the Ministerial Construction Council on 3 December 2019.
16 October 2019
16 October 2019, Brisbane
On 16 October 2019, the Ministerial Construction Council (Council) met at Parliament House in Brisbane during a Sitting of the Queensland Parliament.
The meeting welcomed as a guest the Chair of the Queensland Building and Construction (QBC) Board, Mr Dick Williams, who has accepted the role of Chair of the newly established Subcommittee on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in the building and construction industry.
Mr Brett Bassett, Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) provided an update to attendees on the Safer Buildings Program which was established by the Government to audit buildings potentially containing flammable cladding and undertake rectification works to protect homeowners and the community.
Mr Bassett provided an update on Minimum Financial Requirements (MFR) and in particular confirmed for categories SC1, SC2 and categories 1 and 2 licensees that the QBCC would undertake a facilitative regulatory approach for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. He confirmed that the QBCC’s regulatory and risk-based approach would be outlined in an MFR regulatory guide which members of the Council will have the opportunity to provide input to and feedback on. He confirmed that the draft regulatory guide and outreach strategy would be ready for consideration by Friday, 15 November 2019. Regular reporting on the outcomes of this approach will be provided to Government.
A presentation from the Fairness in Contracting Subcommittee outlined a list of unfair contract terms that could be applied to government building and construction projects. The recommendations from the Subcommittee are likely to be considered by the Council later in the year.
Members were updated on the continuing awareness raising activities of the Subcommittee on Increasing Female Participation in the Building and Construction Industry. Council members noted the recent Queensland Government and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) joint announcement about an exemplar construction project which is targeting to achieve over the 11 per cent goal for women in frontline construction roles.
Members heard from the Chair of the Subcommittee on Fire Protection Licensing and Compliance, Mr Wayne Smith from the National Fire Industry Association, who provided a progress report on the work the Subcommittee has been leading. A draft final framework was tabled at the meeting for discussion and the Council endorsed the proposed new fire protection licensing framework and transitional arrangements.
The Chair of the QBC Board led a discussion about the need for building industry practitioners to maintain the currency of their knowledge through ongoing training and development and how this will lead to improved confidence in the industry. During the meeting, Mr Williams spoke about his commitment to improving the standards of professionalism in the industry and how the findings of the subcommittee have the potential to influence the national agenda. The terms of reference for the CPD subcommittee were approved and includes making recommendations on a framework for how compulsory CPD for professionals and trades within the industry might be adopted in Queensland in order to advance building quality, workplace safety and business practices, and thereby promote stability and confidence in Queensland’s building industry for consumers, investors and other stakeholders.
The Council was provided with an update on the implementation of project bank accounts and that the Government is considering the findings of the report from the Building Industry Fairness and Reforms Implementation and Evaluation Panel. The Minister reconfirmed his intention to consult with the Council on the Government’s response to the Evaluation Panel’s recommendations before the report is tabled in Parliament. It was agreed that a subcommittee be established to provide feedback on any draft legislation that may be required to implement the agreed recommendations.
The Minister spoke about the draft Government response to the Special Joint Taskforce’s report into subcontractor non-payment in the Queensland building industry. The Minister informed the meeting that legislative amendments required to implement the Taskforce’s recommendations will be considered as part of the same body of work implementing the Building Industry Fairness and Reforms Implementation and Evaluation Panel report.
The Minister thanked members for their continued commitment to attending Council and Subcommittee meetings, reiterating that this collaboration between the Queensland Government and industry is helping to deliver a safer, fairer and more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland.
3 September 2019
3 September 2019, Townsville
On 3 September 2019, the Ministerial Construction Council met and held a Regional Round Table (MCC RRT) in Townsville during the Regional Sitting of the Queensland Parliament.
The Minister opened the forum by discussing the importance of the building and construction industry to the State and provided an overview of how the industry contributes to the Townsville area’s local economy and the $930.7 million infrastructure spend in the region in 2019-20.
The MCC RRT discussed issues impacting the industry nationally and were provided with an update on the work of the Building Ministers’ Forum in responding to these issues. The MCC RRT noted Queensland’s strong position, particularly with regard to a robust regulatory framework, non-conforming building products law and recent amendments relating to professional indemnity for certifiers which allow them to continue doing their job.
The round table provided an opportunity for MCC members and regional representatives of industry associations to discuss how government and industry can better prioritise the restoration of confidence in the sector, to promote investment and jobs growth.
The MCC RRT noted that work on unfair contract terms was progressing through an MCC subcommittee as a priority.
Industry representatives noted an update from the Chair of the MCC Subcommittee on Fire Protection Licensing and Compliance, who provided a progress report on the work they have been undertaking to modernise the fire protection licensing framework, a decision on which will be progressed to the MCC for approval out of session.
Attendees also noted a paper provided by Master Builders Queensland and Housing Industry Association on a proposal to raise the bar for residential builders, a program to assist new builders to improve their skills with practical business systems and processes. The MCC members at the roundtable agreed to establish a subcommittee to progress an education program as part of CPD proposals being considered in the work of the Building Confidence Implementation Team.
Industry representatives were also provided with an update on the National Construction Code and discussed upcoming Regulatory Impact Statements for accessible housing, energy efficiency and lead in plumbing.
The Minister thanked members for their ongoing commitment to the MCC through these meetings, subcommittees and other mechanisms. Working together, the State Government and industry are delivering a safer, fairer, more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland.
2 July 2019
2 July 2019, Brisbane
The Ministerial Construction Council met in Brisbane on 2 July 2019 to continue discussions on the challenge of professional indemnity insurance for building industry professionals.
The Minister welcomed to the meeting representatives from the Insurance Council of Australia, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Bovill Risk and Insurance Consultants and the Strata Community Association (Qld).
The Minister also welcomed PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The Council noted the agreed principles from the 18 June 2019 meeting to address the current issues facing professional indemnity insurance for building certifiers. These principles focused on reducing risk, protecting the interest of consumers, industry and taxpayers and ensuring the safety of building occupiers.
The issues around the certification sector are long-standing and nationwide and are also influenced by global factors.
The Council noted the release of the PwC interim report as a valuable tool in establishing the true state of the Australian PI market and supports developing a shared understanding of the reasons behind the retraction of the market.
The Council noted the need to consider analysis and actions in the framework of:
- options to address the past actions of the building and construction industry
- options to ensure the current building and construction activity can continue
- options to continue strengthening key functions to underpin the industry’s future
The Council noted the core areas that need addressed including:
- strengthening PI insurance
- the non-compliant use of ACPs
- improving the system-wide issues
Queensland has been working to strengthen the building industry by addressing the issues identified, both in this state and nationally.
The Council noted the Queensland Government actions already implemented to improve and strengthen the certification industry. These include a commitment to reform in the Queensland Building Plan; the Non-conforming Building Product legislation; the Building Confidence Report implementation plan; and the work of the Non-conforming Building Products Audit Taskforce and the combustible cladding checklist; taskforce facilitated continuing professional development courses; and the development of a Materials Library.
The Council discussed options focused on:
- enabling certifiers to continue operating
- strengthening the cladding response
- calling for and supporting improvements in professional standards
- options which benefited from a nationally consistent approach.
The Council noted the intention of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to remind certifiers of their obligation to disclose to insurers their history in relation to past, or possible future claims concerning combustible cladding.
The MCC agreed to the following overall approach:
- the ban on Aluminium Composite Panels (ACPs) with a polyethylene core greater than 30% on new buildings and its installation on existing buildings.
- the Queensland Government will proceed to make a regulation to conditionally allow Queensland licensed certifiers to hold professional indemnity insurance with cladding related exclusions for a time-limited period.
- the Queensland Government call upon the Australian Government to ban the importation of combustible cladding with a PE core.
- the Queensland Government call upon the Australian Government to work towards a nationally agreed approach to remediation for affected buildings.
- Building certifiers are advised to notify PI insurers of claims made against them of circumstances which may give rise to future claim
The Council agreed on the overall approach and agreed MCC members will provide advice in response to the detail of the regulation from their organisation by 5 July 2019.
The Minister thanked members for their ongoing commitment to the Council and their contribution to delivering Queensland Building Plan reforms for a safer, fairer, more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland.
18 June 2019
18 June 2019, Brisbane
The Ministerial Construction Council met in Brisbane on 18 June 2019 to continue to discuss the challenge of professional indemnity (PI) insurance for building industry professionals.
The Minister welcomed to the meeting representatives from the Insurance Council of Australia, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
The Council welcomed PricewaterhouseCoopers who presented their analysis and observations of the PI insurance market to date. The Council noted changes in the international PI insurance market particularly for the building and construction segment and the downstream impact this has on the Australian PI insurance market.
The Council acknowledged the reduction of providers of the PI Insurance market over the last decade, and the increases to insurance premiums.
The Council acknowledged that the issue extends beyond the border, with other jurisdictions advising of similar situations.
The Council noted years of under-pricing of the Australian PI market, particularly relevant to private certifiers, with the average insurer losing 16 cents for every dollar earned. Claims are increasing substantially higher than premiums earned and we’re presently seeing a rebalancing of the smaller Australian PI insurance market as part of a global shift.
The Council noted adequate certifiers are insured and can continue to provide certification services ongoing, and also acknowledged the responsibility of Local Government as a certifier of last resort.
The Council noted the progress of the Queensland Government’s Safer Buildings Audit Program, noting 22,000 building owners entered the process and there are currently 17 requiring some form of further action.
The Council agreed to the following principles to address current issues which focus on reducing risk, protecting the interest of consumers, industry and taxpayers and ensuring the safety of building occupiers:
- Government intervention in the insurance market should be avoided (and any measures should mitigate risk transfer to the taxpayer)
- Measures should have appropriate risk and cost profiles, and these should be proportionate with the public good outcomes they achieve
- Measures should not free the insurance industry of any existing obligations, or indemnify professionals for negligent advice or poor conduct
- Measures should support consumer protection, safety in the built environment and financial security for building owners
- Measures should bolster confidence in the building industry regulatory framework
- There is benefit in national consistency where there is a shared commitment to identify and progress actions.
The Council considered to the following proposed reforms and agreed that MCC members will provide formal advice from their organisation’s position by 20 June 2019:
- improve professional standards by vigorously pursuing establishment of a national body
- reduce the risk of certain types of construction by reviewing the use of performance solutions on certain types of buildings
- maintain consumer protection standards by requiring certifiers to hold exclusion free PI insurance
- promote awareness of the regulatory environment, including local government’s certifying role
- consider longer-term solutions to the systemic issues raised by investigating an insurance product modelled on the Queensland Home Warranty Scheme but modified for multi-storey developments.
The Council requested that the Queensland Government call on the Australian Government to immediately progress the permanent labelling of cladding products to ensure the safety of the Queensland community is protected.
The Council asked the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to continue its work, making use of Queensland’s non-conforming building product legislation, and work with the building product supply chain to ensure that product safety obligations are being met, that information to guide builders on the proper use of products is being made available, and no misrepresentations are being circulated in the market.
The Council noted Amendment One to NCC 2016 (effective March 2018) as well as NCC 2019 which clarified requirements relating to combustible cladding in the National Construction Code.
The Minister thanked members for their ongoing commitment to the Council and their contribution to delivering Queensland Building Plan reforms for a safer, fairer, more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland.
8 May 2019
The Ministerial Construction Council met in Brisbane on 8 May 2019 to further industry consultation on building and construction industry reforms and discuss the emerging challenge of professional indemnity insurance.
The Council agreed to establish a new fire protection licensing and compliance subcommittee to provide input to the proposed new fire protection licensing framework, technical qualifications and units of competency that will underpin the framework and strengthen compliance for fire protection generally. Terms of Reference for the subcommittee were noted by the Council.
The Council noted an update on the review into restricted builder licences concerning preparations of new Terms of Reference to guide the subcommittee's work. The Terms of Reference will include increased support from the Department of Housing and Public Works, as well as broader stakeholder consultation concerning any suggested changes, prior to the subcommittee making further recommendations to the Council.
The Council agreed to defer the work of the Fairness in Contracting subcommittee in developing a legal definition of 'unfair' contract terms for the building and construction industry until after the Federal election, as both major parties have committed to strengthen Federal legislation in response to the Unfair Terms in Contracts Review. In the meantime, the subcommittee, supported by a construction law specialist, will continue its work on identifying examples of unfair terms and conditions. The Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, will raise unfair contract terms at the next Building Ministers' Forum.
In other business, the Council received an update from the Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) on the implementation of the Minimum Financial Requirement (MRF) reforms following the commencement of Phase 2 of the reforms on 2 April 2019.
These reforms deliver on the Palaszczuk Government's commitment to strengthen the MFR and enable the QBCC to better regulate the industry. Importantly, these new laws will provide the QBCC with more appropriate information and tools to better detect and mitigate the impacts of insolvencies and corporate collapses in the industry.
The QBCC Commissioner also updated the Council on the progress of the Queensland Government's Safer Buildings Program, that comprises a three-part audit of potentially at-risk buildings. The program was introduced in response to combustible cladding issues. The Council endorsed a recommendation from the QBCC that the compliance period for Parts 2 and 3a of the Program be extended for two months, to 31 July and 31 October respectively, to assist property owners to assess their buildings.
The Minister welcomed to the meeting representatives from the Insurance Council of Australia, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Together there was a discussion about the current issues impacting the availability and cost of professional indemnity insurance for building industry professionals including architects, engineers and building certifiers. The MCC agreed to support further consultation on short, medium- and long-term approaches to fair and appropriate professional indemnity insurance for building industry professionals. The MCC also agreed to provide information about Safer Buildings clearance information to support risk-based decision making.
The Minister thanked members for their ongoing commitment to the Council and their contribution to delivering Queensland Building Plan reforms for a safer, fairer, more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland.
30 January 2019
The Ministerial Construction Council met in Brisbane on 30 January 2019 to further industry consultation on building and construction industry reforms.
The Queensland Government continues to implement the Queensland Building Plan (PDF, 1MB) (QBP) and work at a national level through the Building Ministers’ Forum.
The Minister confirmed the government priorities for 2019, as set out in the QBP, including implementation of the new Minimum Financial Requirements (MFR) regulation, consideration of the Building Industry Fairness Reforms Implementation and Evaluation Panel’s report, the outcome of which will determine possible commencement dates for the next stage of Project Bank Accounts.
The Council noted and endorsed updates from the MCC subcommittees for increasing female participation in the building and construction industry, addressing unfair contract terms and the restricted builders licence review.
The Council noted the report on the new MFR Framework, which is being implemented in stages. Phase 1 commenced on 1 January 2019, with the introduction of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (Minimum Financial Requirements) Regulation 2018 (MFR Regulation). The remainder of the MFR reforms will be implemented as part of Phase 2, commencing 1 April 2019.
The Council discussed the key topics of the next Building Ministers Forum meeting, including the Building Confidence – Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia Report (PDF, 4.3MB); review of security of payment laws; and Permanent Labelling for Aluminium Combustible Panels.
The Council endorsed the concept of a Sunshine Coast Industry Roundtable during the Government’s Governing from the Regions week, commencing 3 February 2019.
The Minister thanked members for their ongoing engagement with government through the Council and their contribution to delivering a safer, fairer, more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland through the Queensland Building Plan reforms.
28 November 2018
28 November 2018
The Ministerial Construction Council met in Brisbane on 28 November 2018 to further industry consultation on building and construction industry reforms.
The Queensland Government continues to implement the Queensland Building Plan and work at the national level through the Building Ministers’ Forum. Today, the Council was updated on matters relating to security of payment, including progress on the implementation of project bank accounts on certain government building projects valued between $1 million and $10 million.
The Council was advised that the Building Industry Fairness Reforms Implementation and Evaluation Panel has released a Discussion Paper for public consultation with a closing date of February 2019. In December, the Panel will commence a series of industry forums to be held throughout the State. The industry forums will continue in February after the industry Christmas/New Year closure period.
The Council was made aware that Chapters 3 to 5 of the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 will commence on 17 December 2018. This will include changes to progress payments, the process for adjudication, modernisation and simplification of subcontractors’ charges provisions and the introduction of additional requirements to ensure that contractors are able to recover their retention money.
The Minister thanked members for their involvement in the Ministerial Construction Council Subcommittees and for their feedback on the Minimum Financial Requirements discussion paper. Changes will be delivered in two phases and will be supported by an awareness raising and education campaign.
The Council was advised that the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2018 was passed by Parliament on 12 September 2018 and that the draft Plumbing and Drainage Regulation and consultation on the draft Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code has commenced.
The Council discussed the Queensland Building Plan licensing reforms, in particular the restricted builder licence. Members agreed to establish a Subcommittee to further investigate the appropriate scope of work for this licence.
Council members provided updates from the Subcommittees for increasing female participation in the building and construction industry and addressing unfair contract terms.
The Minister thanked the members for their ongoing engagement with government through the Council and their contribution to delivering a safer, fairer, more sustainable building and construction industry in Queensland through the Queensland Building Plan reforms.
- Last updated:
- 5 March 2021