Raising the Roof (Legally): A Guide to Queensland Club Renovation

As featured in the latest edition of Club Insight Magazine

Expanding or renovating your club is an exciting venture that can yield numerous benefits. In particular, there is a constant need to update and adapt gaming rooms and other facilities to meet member expectations and keep up with other clubs.  However, if not managed correctly, it can present unforeseen challenges. To help you navigate this journey smoothly, here are some key considerations for your next project.

Planning and Building Approvals

Unless you are just doing a minor cosmetic update, renovation projects will require a Building Approval and certification, resulting in a new Certificate of Occupancy.

However, depending on the scope or if the project significantly changes or intensifies the use of the premises, you may also require Town Planning Approval. This can pose several challenges, such as the local council requiring additional car parking spaces, scrutiny on trading hours or noise limits. 

Accordingly, it is critical that you obtain planning advice from an expert town planner early in the planning process to avoid unexpected delays.  Experienced architects and project managers can also provide great advice regarding these matters.

Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation ("OLGR") Approval

For licensed premises like clubs, the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) requires licensees to obtain approval from the OLGR prior to commencing works, unless the works do not materially alter the licensed premises and are valued under $50,000. You will need to lodge various supporting documents including any planning or building approvals, layout plans showing the proposed changes, plans showing the existing and new licensed areas (if the licensed footprint will change as part of the renovation works), and an updated RAMP. A failure to obtain approval before commencing works may lead to compliance action. The approval process can often take longer than expected, so we always recommend you lodge the applications as soon as you have obtained building approvals.

If the works relate to a gaming room and the gaming machines need to either be switched off or relocated as part of the renovation or refurbishment works, then specific approval needs to be obtained from the OLGR to relocate the gaming room, as well as approval to store the machines if they will be stored for more than two months. Your Licensed Monitoring Operator will also need to be notified.

The OLGR will conduct a final inspection once the work is completed to confirm the licensed area and determine any necessary conditions. Depending on the changes made, you may also need an acoustic report to determine new noise conditions.

Construction Contracts

Having a balanced construction contract is critical to ensuring the successful delivery of a renovation on time and on budget. Queensland legislation imposes minimum requirements on commercial constructions contracts. 

In addition to the minimum requirements, it is important to ensure that your construction contract addresses the following:

  1. Clearly define the scope of work the builder is required to perform;
  2. Specify the completion date for the building work or provide a timeframe to calculate the completion date;
  3. State the payment amount for the builder or how it will be calculated;
  4. Detail any agreement regarding security or retention amounts to be withheld by the club for the builder’s performance;
  5. Outline payment terms;
  6. Provide a process for dispute resolution;
  7. What is the process for any variations to the works after the contract date;
  8. How any unforeseen site conditions (i.e., latent conditions) are to be dealt with; and
  9. An appropriate defects liability period for the rectification of any defects by the builder.

It is also important to remember that any construction contract should ultimately be balanced and work for both parties.  A one-sided contract that pushes all the risk to the builder may result in the club paying a higher contract price to offset the builder’s risk and does not always result in the best outcome with your builder. Experienced architects and project managers often have great practical experience and guidance that they can bring to your tender and contract negotiation.

Accordingly, we recommend that you seek legal advice before entering into a construction contract and you don’t just sign the contract that the builder presents to you. This will ensure that you get a construction contract that is fair to all parties, that addresses all minimum requirements and that deals with any other risks tailored to suit the circumstances of your club and the proposed works.

If you need assistance with potential works at your club, please contact me on 07 3224 0353.

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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