Introduction to Security of Payment and Adjudication in South Australia

This page is an introduction to Adjudication in South Australia, if you are an experienced user please proceed directly to the SA flowchart.

The SA Government has recognised that prompt payment is vital to the stability and efficiency of the building and construction industry. Too often the party liable to pay for construction work or related goods or services (the respondent), has manufactured a dispute to deny or delay payment. In other situations, respondents have tried to string out the time for payment with promises of future work if the claimant just waits a bit longer.

The objective of the South Australian Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 (often called the Security of Payment Act - the Act) is to ensure that any party that contracts to carry out construction work, or supply related goods or services, on projects for the private and public sectors in SA is entitled to promptly receive and recover all progress payments that are due, including final payments and retention monies.

The Act creates a dispute resolution process (adjudication) that allows a party (the claimant) alleging they are owed monies under a construction contract to promptly obtain payment from the respondent, based on an assessment of the merits of the claim by an appropriately qualified and independent adjudicator. Adjudicate Today nominates the adjudicator and conducts training and mentoring programs.

The adjudication process is both simple and rapid. Adjudicators must make their determination within 10 business days (unless the parties agree to extend the time) from date of receipt of any adjudication response or when it was due. If the respondent's reasons for not paying are spurious, the respondent is generally liable for the adjudicator's fees plus interest for delay in paying the claim.   If a respondent does not comply with an adjudication decision, the claimant may obtain from Adjudicate Today an adjudication certificate for lodgment at the appropriate court which registers it as a judgment debt. For most claims referred to adjudication, a lawyer should not be necessary.

In order to commence a claim under the Act, there must be a Payment Claim made against a party to a construction contract (either written or oral) in relation to construction work or the supply of related goods and services for construction work in SA.

Time frames under the Act are all important. The Act requires the claimant to take different actions based on whether a respondent serves or fails to serve a written response to the payment claim (the Act calls this the payment schedule) within defined times. Failure by the claimant to follow the strict requirements of the Act will cause an adjudication application to fail.

The advice and flowcharts we publish on this website clearly describe how parties should proceed in preparing and responding to payment claims, what steps should be taken based on the actions of the other party and all other steps required by the Act. In addition, our highly trained staff are available to answer questions about how the Act works and what parties need to do to comply with it. We provide this advice for free and without obligation. If parties proceed to adjudication, the adjudicator pays us a service fee from his/her fees to cover our costs. Neither party is asked to pay the adjudicator's fee until after the determination is provided to Adjudicate Today.

If you are not familiar with our website, we suggest you read “Navigating this website” below. Otherwise let’s get started.

Let's go to the SA flowchart

Navigating this website

To navigate this SA based website, use the menu on the left hand side of the page "Start; Schedule Served; Schedule Not Served; Adjudication Process; Application Forms; and Resources;". We recommend you start by clicking on Start as it provides necessary information which is crucial for making or responding to an adjudication application.

The adjudication process may seem difficult when first encountered. Actually it is not. When an important term used by the Act is first encountered in the text, it is highlighted in blue. Passing the mouse over the term causes a grey box to "pop-up" with a simple explanation of the term.

We have attempted to explain each step of the processes under the Act simply by using a flowchart which alerts claimants and respondents (parties) under the Act to their major rights and obligations. The flowchart is interactive. This means that when you click on a box in the flowchart brief details are provided in a pop-up overlay. Clicking the read more button at the bottom of the box provides much more information. The simplest way to return from an information box to the flowchart is to close it by clicking the small X located on the top right corner of the pop-up.

Let's go to the SA flowchart or Download the flowchart to print

print this page