RESOLVING PAYMENT DISPUTES: MADE SIMPLER
Covid has forced many of us to redefine how we work. Most have home offices and must deal with complex challenges remotely from our colleagues and resources.
Representing clients is more difficult in the absence of face-to-face meetings and a capacity to serve and receive papers readily. The building and construction industry is typical of industries with a high incidence of contractual relationships between parties who have little understanding of mutual obligations and the relevant law.
Covid is a ready reason for not paying or delaying payment for work performed. While all State jurisdictions with Security of Payment (SoP) acts render pay when paid contractual provisions illegal and provide for reasonable payment times, the Principal can still benefit from the work and leave the contractor unpaid until recovery action is taken under SoP.
Authorised Nominating Authorities (ANAs) have the statutory responsibility to nominate adjudicators to resolve payment disputes. Adjudicate Today also devotes massive resources to help all parties understand the process of making a payment claim, issue a payment schedule, apply for adjudication, and respond to the application.
During Covid time, a bottleneck in taking appropriate advice and issuing necessary paperwork is obvious. Whatever can be done to simplify communicating essential information to the parties and facilitating the circulation of paperwork is beneficial to all and the quicker resolution of payment disputes.
On 13 September 2021, Adjudicate Today made new 'Lockbox' software freely available to building industry participants. This Lockbox is more sophisticated than the public domain Dropbox and like. It is built to both simplify the communication of essential information to the parties and facilitate the digital circulation of paperwork. The software is an entire e-file delivery system featuring a step by step creation wizard to guide users through the application and response processes of adjudication. The interface is clean and easy to follow. Each step is connected to the relevant pages on the website www.adjudicate.com.au to provide immediate help. Assisting to comply with SoP, the software incorporates validation checks.
With the software, parties and their representatives' can:
- Use the Creation Wizard to make or respond to an adjudication application and save files before submitting to Adjudicate Today;
- Only submit the adjudication application or response plus supporting documentation to Adjudicate Today;
- Only download the adjudication application or response form (helpful when the application or response will be hardcopy and have attached all supporting documentation).
There is no limit to the number of individual files or their size that can be uploaded. Any file format is accepted. Only the Lockbox owner and Adjudicate Today authorised staff can access information.
Unless the adjudicator requires a hard copy of an adjudication application and/or response, and parties are advised of that, the digital copy will be accepted by Adjudicate Today.
A future update to the Lockbox will allow digital service of adjudication applications and responses on all parties, subject to agreement of the other party.
The new e-file delivery system can be accessed at lockbox.adjudicate.com.au.
Creating a new Lockbox account is free and takes less than 60 seconds. An active email account and password is all that is required.
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