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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Construction > Building and plumbing > Building > Security of payment > Building Industry Fairness Reforms—Project Bank Accounts

Building Industry Fairness Reforms—Project Bank Accounts

Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) are established for certain projects to safeguard progress payments, protect retention monies and allow for more timely payments to subcontractors.

From 1 March 2018, projects tendered by the Queensland Government will use PBAs on building and construction projects (excluding engineering projects) valued between $1 million and $10 million (including GST). Following successful implementation, this model is set to apply to private sector projects valued from $1 million. However, this will not occur before 1 March 2019.

Why is the PBA important?

Payment delays and non-payments impact heavily on Subcontractors, resulting in financial and social stresses on them, their families, employees, suppliers and the wider community.

PBAs will ensure that Subcontractors get paid regularly in a timely manner, that their retention and disputed monies are protected, and that the PBA monies due to them are protected in the event of contract termination or bankruptcy.

Who is involved in a PBA?

There are 3 parties involved in a PBA including the:

  • Principal—who the building work is being carried out for under the contract
  • Head Contractor—who is carrying out the building work under the contract
  • Subcontractor—first-tier subcontractors who have been subcontracted by the Head Contractor to carry out work under the contract.

What is a PBA?

A PBA is a set of 3 bank accounts that operate as a trust.

The Head Contractor is the PBA ‘trustee’ and a beneficiary; each Subcontractor who signs a subcontract becomes a beneficiary. A separate PBA is required for each building contract.

The PBA, which must be set up at a financial institution in Queensland has the following accounts:

  • A general trust account—the Principal makes payments into this account.
  • A retention trust account—it holds Subcontractor’s retention money.
  • A disputed funds trust account—holds amounts subject to certain payment disputes until resolution.

Are there any PBA exclusions?

A PBA is not needed for civil, engineering and infrastructure projects such as bridges, roads, tunnels, busways or railways.

Some civil or infrastructure projects do however include ‘building work’ as defined by the law, and the ‘more than 50 percent of contract price’ test must be applied to determine if a PBA is required.

More information about PBA exclusions is included in the guidelines below.

What are the PBA requirements?

A range of guidelines have been prepared to outline the responsibilities of each party to a PBA.

Guidelines for:

Summary guidelines for:

The department is offering detailed policy briefings to banking institutions which are interested in offering PBAs to their customers in the building sector in Queensland. To arrange a briefing or to seek clarification of the requirements of PBAs, please email securityofpayment@hpw.qld.gov.au.

More information

If you have any questions regarding Project Bank Accounts or other security of payment reforms, please email securityofpayment@hpw.qld.gov.au.

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Last updated 17 April 2018    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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