ACT: Claimant Prepares Payment Claim
A payment claim is a progress claim which activates the provisions of the Act.
A payment claim must:
- Be served by or on behalf of a claimant.
- Contain the words: “This is a payment claim made under the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009 (A.C.T.)” or words to that effect.
- Adequately identify the respondent and the work performed. The work performed must be work covered by the Act.
- Claim an exact amount. A claim for $10,000 + GST should be described as $11,000 including GST.
- Relate to work performed prior to a reference date.
- Relate to work performed under construction contracts made on or after 1 July 2010.
A Claimant is a person who has carried out construction work, or supplied related goods and services, and is or claims to be entitled to a payment claim under a construction contract. Any sub-contractor who renders an invoice (progress claim) for payment is a claimant.
However to be a claimant under the Act the person against whom the claim is made (the Respondent) must be advised that the Act is being utilised in relation to a payment claim. This is easily achieved by including on the invoice the notice: "This is a payment claim made under the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009 (A.C.T.)" or words to that effect.
Those who can make a payment claim under the Act include:
- contractors against clients (e.g. principals, developers, owner-builders);
- subcontractors against contractors;
- suppliers of building components against purchasers;
- architects, engineers, and others (e.g. consultants) providing advice against clients;
- plant and equipment hirers against clients.
Construction work and services can be claimed under the Act even if the contract is not written and/or does not provide for progress payments with only a single payment to be made when work is completed.
Unless the construction contract provides for a longer period, the claimant has 12 months to serve a payment claim on the respondent from the time construction work to which the claim relates was last carried out or the related goods and services to which the claim relates were last supplied.
What work is covered?
Construction work and the supply of related goods and services includes:
- building work;
- civil engineering;
- hire of plant or equipment;
- professional services such as architectural design, surveying and soil testing;
- supply of building materials.
A claimant can make a payment claim on the respondent for:
Construction work done;
Construction materials or plant provided;
Consulting services provided;
Interest on overdue progress payments;
Losses and additional expenses due to work being deleted from contract while work is suspended under the protection of the Act;
Cash security and retention monies; and
At the end of contract, a claim can be made for the final payment.
The Act does not apply to a construction contract for the carrying out of residential building work on such part of any premises the respondent resides in or proposes to reside in. But if a contract includes work other than on the respondent’s residence, then that work is subject to the Act. The Act applies to contracts involving residential investment properties, landlords, strata title bodies corporate, developers, builders, contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and suppliers.
Important qualification: The definition of resident-owner under section 9(7) of the Act does not include a person who is or should be licenced as an owner-builder under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004. Therefore an owner-builder qualifies as a respondent and may be served with a payment claim.
What else is excluded?
- A construction contract between parties to the extent it deals with construction work carried on outside A.C.T. or related goods and services supplied for construction work carried on outside A.C.T.
- A construction contract between parties to the extent that it forms part of a loan agreement, a contract of guarantee or a contract of insurance under which a recognised financial institution undertakes to lend or repay an amount lent; guarantee payment of an amount owing or repayment of an amount lent; or provide an indemnity relating to construction work carried out or related goods and services supplied.
- Contracts in which the consideration payable for construction work carried out or related goods and services supplied under the contract, is calculated other than by reference to the value of the work or goods and services supplied.
- Work performed under a contract made prior to 1 July 2010.
A payment claim must:
Establish the reference date for making a payment claim. The reference date is either the time stated in contract or, if there is no time stated, the last day of the month.
Describe the construction work, related goods or related services performed under contract and state the amount that is claimed based on the value of that work to the reference date. The payment claim will usually be in the form of a Tax Invoice.
Include the notice "This is a payment claim made under the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009 (A.C.T.)" or a similar statement with that meaning.
- Be served on or after each reference date by delivering, posting or faxing it to the respondent. The contract or common practice may provide for other methods of service, such as email.
The payment claim may also include attachments containing:
Statements detailing the extent of the work completed;
- Other applicable contract documentation requirements.
How do I serve a Payment Claim
The payment claim is not served until it is delivered in person to the respondent or lodged during normal business hours at the respondent's ordinary place of business or posted or faxed to the respondent's ordinary place of business (or as otherwise provided by the contract).
Claimants are strongly advised to keep a record of the time, date and manner of service on the respondent. The time for the respondent to provide the payment schedule (response) runs from the date of receipt of the payment claim. A respondent may deny receipt of the payment claim in which case the claimant must be able to evidence the date of service.
In the absence of any contract provision, we suggest that service of the payment claim be performed in one of the following ways with the preferred option being personal delivery by courier service which requires a signature.
- Courier - signature required
- Fax - Print and keep full page fax journal report as evidence of transmittal
- Mail - Express Post: keep express post tracking number for delivery verification
- Platinum Post: signature required
- Ordinary Post: make a statement verifying the address, date of postage and other relevant details
- Email (only to an email address which has a history of usage between the parties and/or as an agreed method of service of notices) - In email options, tick both "request a delivery receipt" and "request a read receipt"
- A method prescribed under the relevant construction contract.
The date by which a claimant is entitled to be paid is the "due date for payment".
The due date for payment under the Act is the date on which a payment claim becomes due and payable either in accordance with the terms of the contract or, if there is no such valid provision, 10 business days (a business day is any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, public holiday and the days between Christmas and New Year) after the payment claim is made. Proper calculation of this date is imperative as a number of milestones under the Act are calculated from this date. If the contract provides that payment is due 28 days after invoice then, upon service of the payment claim, the due date for payment under the Act is 28 days later. Endorsing all invoices as a payment claim ensures that claimants don't need to wait for additional, often lengthy, periods before seeking recovery of debts under the Act. The due date of payment under the Act (regardless of any contract provision) can't occur prior to service of the payment claim. If the claimant is not paid by the due date, they have a right to interest at the greater of the rate, if any, in the contract or the rate on Supreme Court judgments. The Supreme Court rate changes from time to time but is usually around 10% per annum.
The next step of our flowchart provides crucial information for both claimants and respondents. Up until this time the Act's time frames and procedures were the same. However they now diverge based on whether the respondent does or does not provide a valid payment schedule to the claimant.
The respondent who fails to provide a payment schedule must be given a second opportunity to provide one. If they fail a second time, the Act effectively punishes the respondent by denying them the right to participate in the adjudication process. This results in the two different procedures which affect the interests and actions of both claimants and respondents. These procedures are fully described in the next step on the flowchart.
Please move to the next step on the flowchart being "Respondent has 10 business days after receipt of the Payment Claim (or such shorter period if provided by construction contract) to prepare and serve a Payment Schedule".