On 20 December 2013, the Queensland Court of Appeal delivered two significant decisions in relation to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld) (BCIPA). These decisions have important consequences to Contractors and Principals on the operation of the BCIPA.

J & D Rigging Pty Ltd v Agripower Australia Ltd & Ors [2013] QCA 406

In J & D Rigging Pty Ltd v Agripower Australia Ltd & Ors [2013] QCA 406, the Queensland Court of Appeal overturned the controversial decision of Wilson J that BCIPA did not apply to work undertaken on land registered as a mining lease as the construction work did not “form part of the land” as required by BCIPA.

In overturning this decision, the Queensland Court of Appeal held that the issue was whether the work forms part of the physical land upon which it was situated.  Accordingly, while a mining lease may not be legally categorised as “land” the actual land on which the plant was situated was considered land pursuant to BCIPA.

How does this decision affect Contractors?

This decision clarifies the uncertainty that some Contractors working on mining tenements may face by reaffirming that they can indeed make a claim under BCIPA for construction work undertaken on a mining lease.

BM Alliance Coal Operations Pty Ltd v BGC Contracting Pty Ltd & Ors [2013] QCA 394

In BM Alliance Coal Operations Pty Ltd v BGC Contracting Pty Ltd & Ors [2013] QCA 394 the Queensland Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the Supreme Court to award part of the adjudicated amount in circumstances where portions of the adjudication determination contained jurisdictional error.

The Court of Appeal held that once an adjudicator’s determination is void due to jurisdictional error, the entire decision ceases to give rise to any legal consequence. Accordingly, the Court at first instance was not entitled to exercise its discretion to award any part payment.

How does this decision affect Principals?

Principals who have received an erroneous adjudicator’s decision involving some jurisdictional error, may rely on this case to propose that the whole decision should be invalidated and no payment made.