If I’m renovating, when do I need to have a contract?

Do you know your contract obligations when renovating? With home-improvements hitting a record high, more Aussies than ever before are jumping on the renovation bandwagon. In fact, according to property website, Domain, the total renovation expenditure in 2019 reached a whopping $36.3 billion.


So, if you’re renovating, when do you need to use a contract? We have put together a simple guide for Queensland renovators.

When do I need to have a contract?

If you are renovating in Queensland, any domestic building work over $3,300 (including labour, materials and GST) requires a contract. For work priced at less than $3,300, using a contract or brief written document is still recommended; however, it is not a requirement.


What is domestic building work?

With home improvements, domestic building work includes renovating, extending, altering, improving, refitting a kitchen or bathroom, landscaping, paving and site work. It also includes building a new detached dwelling, building a structure associated with a home (e.g. shed, fence, spa, carport), and removing or re-siting a dwelling intended for use as a residence.


What should a contract include?

Firstly, there is no particular contract that contractors must use. However, they do have a legal obligation to ensure that the contracts they use are compliant with Queensland legislation. The requirements of domestic building contracts vary depending on the value of the work. Below is a basic overview of some of the key content requirements.

  • Level 1 contracts ($3,301 - $19,999)

  • The contract must be in writing, dated and signed.

  • It must contain the names of the contracted parties, contractor licence details, the contract price and a description of the work. Additionally, it needs to include a copy of any plans and specifications, and details about where the work is taking place. A notice advising you, the owner, of your cooling off period rights is also a requirement.

  • Level 2 contracts ($20,000 +)

  • The contract must be in writing, dated and signed.

  • It must contain the names of the contracted parties, contractor licence details, a description of the work, a copy of any plans and specifications, details about where the work is taking place, and a notice advising you, the owner, of your cooling off period rights.

  • The contract price, whether fixed or not fixed. Any contract provisions or calculation methods must be stated in the contract schedule.

  • The QBCC Consumer Building guide (must be provided before signing)

  • The start date and completion date, or how it will be determined (e.g. within ten business days of building approval issued).

  • Information about relevant statutory/implied warranties.

Remember to do your homework

Before you sign a contract, make sure you read and understand what you agree to and the scope of the work. Ensure that you know your rights as a homeowner, including requirements around deposits, progress payments, contract variations and extensions of time. You can view more information on the QBCC website. Alternatively, our team can help answer any contract or payment queries you have, including reviewing your contract or providing legal advice about a building complaint. Contact our team on (07) 4632 0480 or info@jensenlawyers.com.au.





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