On August 24, 2017, the Queensland Government passed the Building and Construction Legislation (Nonconforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2017 (Amendments Act), which will introduce a raft of changes to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act 1991 (QBCC Act).
What are the new safe products laws?
The substance of the new laws is set out in our earlier blog post when the laws were introduced in May 2017, which you can access here.
When will the new safe products laws take effect?
The non-conforming building products legislation came into effect on 1 November 2017.
Supply chain participants should be aware that that the provisions in the legislation regarding recall orders can be made for non-conforming building products in existence on the date of commencement, but will also apply to products that have been used on buildings before the commencement of the Act.
Changes since the Bill was introduced in May 2017
The Amendments Act as passed last week was substantially the same as the bill introduced in May, except for amendments to:
- clarify the role of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), namely, the power of the QBCC to share and receive information that assists the performance of its duties;
- amend and clarify the definition of ‘safe’ to align with the other duties based regimes, with the effect that the test for compliance is simplified;
- clarify the clause relating to misrepresentations about the conformance or compliance of building products, such that it will be an offence if the relevant misrepresentation conveys that the product complies with the regulatory regime’s intended use when it does not;
- ensure that the Minister has sufficient protections when making a recall order or warning statement about a non-conforming product;
- authorise the Minister to prescribe codes of practice in subordinate legislation, in line with other duties based regimes, which will clarify how a chain of responsibility participant can discharge their duty; and
- ensure clarity regarding the extraterritoriality of the legislation, recognising that there is a move in other states to adopt similar laws.
Commonwealth Government report on NCBPs
Following the Grenfell tower fire in London earlier this year, the Senate committee agreed to prepare an additional interim report on the implications of non-conforming external cladding materials in Australia as a priority, with the report due to be handed down on September 6, 2017. However, this has caused delays in the delivery of the interim report on products containing asbestos, which will now be handed down on October 31, 2017, and the delivery of the final report, which has been pushed back until April 30, 2018.
How can you prepare?
We can help you prepare for the changes to the laws by examining your systems that deal with building products that pass through your position in the supply chain, to ensure that you comply with the new obligations.