Information for Head Contractors
In order to better protect the rights and interests of workers and subcontractors, Housing will require the Head Contractor to provide statutory declarations to confirm the payment of workers and subcontractors, pursuant to the General Conditions. Housing will conduct random audits of subcontractor payments to verify the veracity of those statutory declarations and may audit any statutory declaration in response to specific worker or subcontractor payment complaints.
The outcome of the audits will be used by Housing in consideration of future tendering and contracting opportunities. Further, if there is reasonable evidence to indicate that the statutory declarations have been made fraudulently, the matter may be referred to the WA Police for investigation.
Information for Subcontractors
If you are a subcontractor and find yourself in a situation where you are not being paid or are being paid late by a head contractor, acting quickly to determine your options is the vital first step. This is important if you want to ensure that all appropriate options to resolve the matter remain available to you. These include:
- The dispute resolution mechanism specified in the contract.
Generally, a dispute resolution process will be contained within the contract you have in place with the Head Contractor.
- Rapid adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act 2004 (the Act). Visit the Building Commission of WA web site or call 1300 489 099.
Taking legal action to recover money can be expensive and time consuming. The Construction Contracts Act 2004 provides an alternative and quick mechanism for those involved in building and construction work to take a disputed payment claim to an independent adjudicator for review.
Subcontractors should note that the time in which an application can be made under the Act expires 28 days after payment was due under the contract, or from when it has been rejected, either completely or in part. Applications lodged outside of this timeframe may not be considered.
If an application is not made under the Act within 28 days after payment was due, you may still pursue your claim through a separate judicial process (see option 4 below).
The Building Commission is a good place to start for advice on the rapid adjudication process available under the Construction Contracts Act 2004. You can contact the Building Commission via the following:
Phone: 1300 489 099
Please note that the adjudication process under the Act does not cover salary or wage disputes. For assistance with resolving a salary or wage dispute, please contact the Fair Work Ombudsman by telephoning 13 13 94.
- Guided dispute resolution and mediation through the Small Business Development Corporation. Visit the SBDC web site or call 13 31 40.
The Small Business Development Corporation can also advise on alternative options for dispute resolution. You can contact the Small Business Development Corporation on 13 31 40 or obtain more information at www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/adr.
- A determination through the Magistrates Court for minor claims for debt or damages.
The Magistrates Court deals with civil matters that involve minor claims for debt or damages up to $10,000 and general claims for debt or damages up to $75,000. Visit the Magistrates Court web site or call 9425 2222.
- Subcontractors may also wish to contact their relevant industry association as they may have their own low-cost dispute resolution processes available to members.
How to Lodge a Complaint with Housing
In the first instance, subcontractors on projects managed by Housing should speak to the head contractor on the project to seek resolution. If no resolution has been reached, you may lodge your complaint with Housing online.