Monday, November 19, 2012

No need for court for construction complaints

A leading Northern Territory lawyer says builders no longer need to feel powerless against developers when construction disputes arise.

Alistair Wyvill SC of William Forster Chambers said builders often feel they have to discount their invoices to get paid, even when they believe there’s no foundation to the developer’s complaint.

The Darwin barrister said subcontractors and suppliers also take this approach when owed money by contractors. They feel that their only other option is an expensive and drawn out court case.

Mr Wyvill says that builders and subcontractors do have a viable alternative to costly court proceedings by using adjudications under the Construction Contract (Security of Payments) Act.

“Adjudication is a fast and cost effective way of forcing payment under construction contracts. It normally takes about four weeks and if successful results in a judgment enforceable by the courts,” Mr Wyvill said

“There is no limit to the amount which can be awarded. It is the big stick that every builder or supplier should know about.”

The Security of Payments legislation is in place to promote the use of good payment practices and to help resolve building contract disputes without drawn out and costly court cases.

Under the process an independent and qualified professional reviews each party’s case  and determines the competing claims on a strict timetable.

Determinations cannot be appealed and if not complied with can result in companies being subject to a substantial court judgment and even winding-up proceedings.

“It is highly likely that the Northern Territory will see an increase in construction industry contract payment disputes in the expected building and mining boom,” Mr Wyvill said.

“It is vital for members of the construction industry to understand this legislation, be aware of the opportunities it creates and but also to understand its pitfalls.”

William Forster Chambers will be conducting a seminar on Security of Payments Adjudication directed to builders and developers on Tuesday 27 November 2012 between 4.30pm and 6.00pm at William Forster Chambers, 26 Harry Chan Avenue, Darwin.

For further information go to  or call Megan White on 89824700.

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