The Queensland Government yesterday released a two page fact sheet outlining a number of fundamental changes to the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004. In contrast to the recent changes to the equivalent NSW Act, the pendulum has swung significantly towards respondents in Queensland with the proposed changes creating a more equitable forum for adjudicating large construction payment claims. It is expected that these changes will be well received by the construction industry that saw $1.14 billion in claims submitted in Queensland in the previous 12 months.1
In summary, the key changes are:
- The creation of a central “Adjudication Registry” within the Queensland Building and Construction Commission to register and appoint adjudicators, to ensure adjudicators act impartially and independently of their own interests or the interests of a particular sector within the industry
- Adjudicators must consider if they have jurisdiction and can now receive payment if they find there is no jurisdiction to determine a claim
- For claims for more than $750,000 (or other claims for latent conditions or time related costs), the time for submitting a payment schedule is increased to 15 business days from receiving the claim (instead of 10 business days) and the time for submitting an adjudication response is increased to 15 business days (instead of 5 business days)
- Regardless of the value of the claim, the time for submitting adjudication responses is increased to 10 business days (instead of 5 business days)
- A much wider period around the Christmas shutdown is excluded from the definition of business day – including two weeks after New Year’s Day
- Respondents will not be limited in their adjudication responses to reasons contained in payment schedules but claimants will be given the opportunity to reply to those new reasons
The amendments are likely to take effect on 1 September 2014 and apply to construction contracts entered into after that date. However, all adjudicator appointments made on or after 1 September 2014 will be made by the Adjudication Registry, regardless of when the construction contract was entered into.
Further information can be accessed here.