More construction industry reforms in 2020

Following meetings by the Ministerial Construction Council (MCC) and the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) in December 2019, the following further reforms were announced:

New Mechanical Services licence

A new mechanical services licence commenced on 1 January 2020. This licence expands the kinds of work that requires a licence under the QBCC Act and there will be a phased introduction between 1 January 2020 and 1 January 2022.

There are 4 new classes of licence for contractors, nominated supervisors and site supervisors:

  1. Mechanical Services – medical, gas;
  2. Mechanical Services – plumbing;
  3. Mechanical Services – air-conditioning and refrigeration (unlimited design);
  4. Mechanical Services – air- conditioning and refrigeration (limited design).

Some existing licensees will automatically transition across to the new licence classes. Workers who are currently unlicensed will be required to obtain a licence in order to continue to carry out work.

From 1 January 2020, existing air-conditioning and refrigeration licence classes transition to new mechanical services licence classes.

From 1 July 2020, contractors and nominated supervisors need to have the applicable mechanical services contractor / nominee supervisor licence.

Further announcements from the MCC meeting

  • The Council agreed to establish sub-committees to provide leadership and governance on project management including, by licenced project managers in relation to the design, construction and certification of complex buildings in accordance with the Building Competence Report Recommendations.
  • There are proposed legislative amendments being progressed in response to independent reports into the building and construction industry and to enhance the building certification system. These amendments involve safeguarding for subcontractor payments and certification reforms that were said to improve independence, professional standards and compliance of certifiers.

Building Ministers’ Forum

This forum made announcements regarding the implementation of the recommendations in the Building Competence Report (BCR) and professional indemnity insurance, including:

  • Development of amendments to the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC);
  • A best practice process for the development of performance solutions;
  • Development of a new continuing Professional Development Module on the NCC;
  • Development of a new nationally consistent definition of complex buildings.
  • The announcement of further steps on a national approach to implementing the BCR including:
    • Development of a nationally consistent code of conduct for building certifiers
    • Development of detailed national specifications for inclusion in a building manual for commercial buildings;
    • Development of model provisions to set out the roles and responsibilities for documenting approving and recording performance solutions;
    • Work on a national data-sharing framework to support the development of a comprehensive National Building Data Portal;
    • A continued discussion on a coordinated response to professional indemnity insurance.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader’s specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

Key contacts:

Stephen Pyman – Director | Principal


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