Subcontractors’ charges changes

Changes to subcontractors’ charges

The Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 modernises and simplifies subcontractors’ charges provisions that were previously in the Subcontractors’ Charges Act 1974, which has now been repealed.

The operation of subcontractors’ charges in Queensland is largely unchanged. However, under the BIF Act, the higher contractor receiving a notice of subcontractors’ claim charge must now respond to the subcontractor within 10 business days (and give notice to the person higher in the contractual chain) whether they agree with or dispute the claim.

Failing to provide a response within the required time frame is an offence. A maximum of 20 penalty units applies.

This new offence discourages higher contractors from not responding to the claim, which can extend the process and make it more expensive for a subcontractor.

See chapter 4 of the BIF Act for details of these changes.

What is a subcontractors’ charge?

A subcontractors’ charge is a way for subcontractors who are not being paid to secure a claim over monies owed to them by a contractor.

A subcontractor can make a charge over money due to be paid by the principal or a higher contractor to the contractor they have a subcontract with.

For example, a subcontractor can give a notice of claim of a subcontractors’ charge to the principal for an amount they’re owed under a subcontract for work they’ve completed.

See the QBCC website for more about subcontractors charges and the process for bringing a subcontractors’ charge.