The Queensland Government is planning to introduce changes to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act to resolve payment disputes more easily and more transparently.

Minister for Housing and Public Works Tim Mander said the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act was created in 2004 to give builders and contractors an alternative way to resolve construction payment disputes. However, the industry wanted changes to be made to the Act.

According to Mr Mander, the building and construction industry contributes around $60 billion annually to Queensland’s economy, so it’s imperative to have a fair payment system in place. He explains that the changes are part of the Government’s strong plan for a brighter future for the building and construction industry and deliver on their election promise to grow the sector as one of the four pillars of the economy.

Mr Mander said a review of BCIPA found widespread dissatisfaction with the way adjudicators were appointed and the timeframes for responding to claims. In the past, claimants approached an authorised nominating authority who would appoint an adjudicator on their behalf creating the perception of a conflict of interest.

Under the proposed changes, the Queensland Building and Construction Commission will take on the role of registering adjudicators and will appoint them to cases based on their skills, knowledge and experience. The changes will also recognise the difference between large or complex claims and the smaller more straightforward ones, by offering different timeframes for responding to these claims.

Mr Mander said the Government’s cuts to red tape in the construction sector were paying dividends with recent data showing dwelling approvals up by more than 48% in the two years to March 2012.

HIA’s Queensland Executive Director Warwick Temby said the reforms provided for greater transparency and fairness in the adjudication process, to the benefit of both claimants and respondents.

Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia Kathy MacDermott said the reforms were a restoration of common sense and a rebalance of equity and responsibility for all parties involved in the transaction.

Master Builders Queensland welcomed the improved effectiveness of this legislation that would provide a much needed boost to cash flow for the building and construction industry.

The changes to the BCIPA are expected to come into effect in late 2014.