Continuing busy dispute-resolution activity

The summer has been very busy with dispute-resolution activity, as listed below. The value of the payment disputes in the adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act (WA) ranged from $150k to $2 million.

December 2014 construction contract adjudications:
** 9 invoices in a building-services contract for the construction of a shopping centre
** a payment claim in a power-station construction contract
** electrical works in a regional community-centre upgrade

January 2015 mediation:
** business-sale dispute.

March 2015 mediations:
** a tenancy dispute between a small business and a government agency
** dispute between two businesses that had a commercial alliance including a sub-tenancy agreement

March 2015 construction contract adjudications:
** progress claim dispute in a contract for construction of a multi-residential building
** final claim dispute in a construction contract to build a private residence

April 2015 construction contract adjudication:
** building-services contract for a major government project

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Adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act are quick and inexpensive, but not free.

In recent months, applicants for adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act (WA) 2004, have requested that we extend credit for the costs of the adjudication. We’ve been sympathetic to these requests, encouraged by the party’s written commitment to make payment at a later date.

We now find in two instances that we must pursue the debt in a court of competent jurisdiction, in accordance with section 44(12) of the Act.

Applicants for adjudication should note that section 44(8) of the Act states that “An appointed adjudicator may at any time require one or more parties to provide a reasonable deposit, or reasonable security, for the, or any anticipated costs of the adjudication.”

Furthermore, in accordance with section 26(1)(d) of the Act, they must (amongst other things) “provide any deposit or security for the costs of the adjudication that the adjudicator …requires under section 44(8) …”

Finally also note that in accordance with section 31(2) of the Act “An appointed adjudicator must …dismiss the application without making a determination of its merits if …[amongst other things] the application has not been prepared and served in accordance with section 26…”

Thus a failure to provide the requested security for costs of the adjudication may result in the application being dismissed.

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Busy period for dispute resolution

This holiday period has been an extremely busy one. Celebrations and festivities aside, Steve has been busy in December and January with 6 payment-claim adjudications under the Construction Contracts Act (WA). The average value of the payment claims in those disputes exceeds $500k.

Steve has also been appointed to mediate between two parties in dispute over the trade-sale of a business, later this month.

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Ignition Pitch Panel

Steve was one of the Panelists at the Curtin “Ignition” program Business Plan Pitch Presentation sessions at the Technology Park Function Centre from 1:30pm to 5.00pm.
The Ignition delegates were nascent and novice entrepreneurs with ideas to take forward into business or early stage business owners from a mix of backgrounds. Some of the delegates were from universities; others from large organisations (people who may well have some business background) and others were solo entrepreneurs.
Delegates made a brief presentation followed by discussion with the panelists who then provided coaching on the presentation and the viability of their business idea.

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Architect-Builder Adjudication

Steve was appointed to adjudicate a payment claim dispute (approximately $100k) between and architect and a builder, arising from different interpretations of the scope of work.
Steve determined the matter on its merits within the prescribed time.

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Major Supply Contract dispute resolved by mutual consent

Steve was appointed to adjudicate a payment claim dispute (approximately $250k) between a major resources infrastructure contractor and his subcontractor.
The parties successfully resolved the dispute by mutual consent and Steve dismissed the Application without making a determination of its merits, on the basis that others dealing with the matter have made a finding, in accordance with section 31(2)(a)(iii) of the Act. This minimised the costs of the adjudication, which is borne by the Parties, and enhanced the prospect of the Parties proceeding with the Contract in a constructive and collaborative manner.

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