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QBCC Licence Applications and Fit and Proper Person Test

Potts Lawyers > Litigation  > QBCC Licence Applications and Fit and Proper Person Test

QBCC Licence Applications and Fit and Proper Person Test

QBCC Licence Applications and Fit and Proper Person Test

By Jason Papoutsis


Who needs a QBCC Licence?

In Queensland, individuals require licences to work in the building and construction industry.  These licence applications are assessed by the Queensland Build and Construction Commission (“QBCC”).

QBCC Licences are required for many trades, including but not limited to:

  • Air handling duct installation
  • Brick and segmental paving
  • Bricklaying and blocklaying
  • Builder (low rise, medium rise, open)
  • Builder Restricted (shopfitting, structural landscaping, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry)
  • Cabinet making
  • Concreting
  • Carpentry
  • Fire Systems (Passive, water-based, and electrical based)
  • Floor finishing and covering (hard sector)
  • Foundation work (piling and anchors)
  • Gasfitting
  • Glass, glazing and aluminium
  • Irrigation
  • Joinery
  • Mechanical Services (plumbing, air conditioning, refrigeration);
  • Metal fascias and gutters
  • Metal fabrication and erection—structural
  • Metal fabrication and installation—non-structural
  • Painting and decorating
  • Plastering drywall
  • Plastering solid
  • Plumbers
  • Roof and wall cladding
  • Roof tiling
  • Site classifier
  • Sheds, carports and garages
  • Shopfitting (trade)
  • Steel fixing
  • Stonemasonry
  • Structural landscaping (trade)
  • Swimming pool construction, installation and maintenance
  • Termite management—chemical
  • Termite management—physical
  • Wall and floor tiling
  • Waterproofing

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements differ based on the specific trade licence you are seeking to obtain, however generally eligibility requirements include:

  • Technical qualifications (apprenticeship papers, courses for that licence class, recognition of prior learning, statement of attainment etc);
  • Managerial qualifications; and
  • Experience.

Suitability Requirements

In addition to providing evidence about your experience and qualifications, you must be a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold a licence, whether the licence applicant is an individual or a company.  For companies, this includes the directors, secretaries, and other influential people within the organisation.

In deciding whether you are fit and proper to hold a QBCC licence, the QBCC will consider:

  • your honesty and integrity in commercial and other dealings
  • any failure to carry out commercial or statutory obligations and the reasons behind the failure
  • whether you have done any Tier 1 defective work
  • whether you are an enforcement debtor under an enforcement order for an offence under the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (i.e. you have an unpaid infringement notice fine issued by the QBCC that is outstanding with SPER).
  • whether you have had an interstate or New Zealand licence cancelled or suspended
  • any other relevant factor (e.g. criminal history).


Criminal History Disclosure Obligations

Before you apply for a licence, you must:

  • disclose whether you have been convicted of an offence within the last 10 years;
  • obtain a National Police Certificate from an Australian State or Federal Police department; and
  • if applicable, disclose the details of any current criminal proceedings for criminal offences which have yet to be determined.

QBCC Notices proposing Licence Refusal

Potts Lawyers has received an increasing amount of enquiries in relation to the QBCC proposing to refuse a person’s licence application, on the basis that they are not a fit and proper person.

Pursuant to section 31(1) of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (“the QBBC Act), the QBCC may only grant a contractor’s licence to a person if they are satisfied, amongst other things, that the person is a fit and proper person to hold the licence.

If you have a criminal history, the QBCC will often send applicants a letter proposing to refuse that person’s licence, unless they can establish that they are a fit and proper person despite that criminal history.

Otherwise, pursuant to section 31 of the QBCC Act, the QBCC may determine that the applicant is not a fit and proper person if they form the opinion that the applicant has failed to demonstrate honesty and integrity in their dealings with others or that the offending demonstrates that the applicant has a general disregard for a statutory licensing system.

The QBCC usually writes a letter to the applicants when this occurs, and provides them with 21 days to prepare written submissions on why they are fit and proper individuals.

What should you do if you receive a letter from the QBCC?

Regardless of how minor your criminal history may be, you should always obtain legal advice when you receive a letter from the QBCC Regulatory Standards Unit, asking you to explain your criminal history.

When your career aspirations and livelihood are at stake, obtaining legal advice early can minimise the risk of your licence being refused.  It is usually not worth the risk of preparing a written response without the assistance of a lawyer, since if your licence application is refused, appeal costs in QCAT can be quite costly and time consuming.  Therefore, obtaining legal advice early not only maximises your chances of succeeding, but can also result in you avoiding significant legal costs.

Why Potts Lawyers?

Potts Lawyers can assist applicants with preparing comprehensive and persuasive submissions that address all the considerations in the legislation, and which highlight the mitigating circumstances of a person’s previous criminal history.

Potts Lawyers assists contractors in all dealings with the QBCC and the Office of Fair Trading.  If you or a loved one has received a letter from the QBCC proposing to refuse a licence application, you should contact our office immediately so that we can provide you with clear and concise advice on your options.

Next steps

It is critically important that you obtain independent legal advice as soon as possible.

We offer a non-obligation twenty (20) minute consultation to discuss your matter generally and have a law office on the Gold Coast and a law office in Brisbane.

You can contact our firm on (07) 5532 3133 to speak with one of our firm’s experienced criminal lawyers.

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