Get help getting paid (BCIPA)
If you're owed money - payment claims
lthough this is an alternative to going to court, many of the terms used and ways that you set out your paperwork have a legal tone. For example, if you are claiming money, you are the ‘claimant’ and the person who you believe owes you money becomes the ‘respondent’. When you send your claim, you ‘serve’ it on the respondent.
It’s done this way to remove any confusion over the interpretation of details of the dispute. By providing one set of rules and one set of terms, it creates a fair playing field for both sides.
It’s a good idea to become familiar with the terminology and it's essential that you follow each step exactly before going to the next.
Can you make a payment claim?
There is a certain timeframe for when you can make a claim for monies owed using the BCIPA. You can either begin a claim while still under contract or when the job has finished but you must have completed works, or provided goods and services within the last 6 months.
You can only make one claim each ‘reference date’. This is the date you can claim a payment under your contract. If your contract doesn’t have a reference date, you can use the last day of the month in which you carried out the work or supplied the goods or services.
The claimed amount may include anything that you believe you are owed under the contract. You can't serve more than 1 payment claim for each reference date but may include any amount outstanding from a previous claim.
I have more than one claim
If you are owed money from previous months, you can include any outstanding amounts on your current claim. Record each additional amount on your payment claim and clearly identify the value and the corresponding reference date.
Can I combine payment claims from different contracts?
No, you will need to make separate payment claims for each contract.
Sending the payment claim
A payment claim can be your normal tax invoice or monthly statement but must include the following information:
- the address of the person or company who owes you money;
- a clear description of the construction work or goods and services for which you have not been paid;
- the site address;
- the full amount plus any GST that is applicable and other costs for which you are claiming payment under your contract or arrangement; and
- words similar to - "This is a payment claim made under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld)".
You must ‘serve’ the document on the person or company who owes you money. You can do this by mailing, emailing or faxing the notice to the address or email address stated in your contract. If your contract doesn't provide these details, you can serve it to the last known business address (can't be a PO Box unless it is the service address stated in your contract).
Alternatively, you can deliver the claim in person by either giving it to the respondent or leaving it at the address specified in your contract. Again, if your contract doesn't contain any contact details, you can leave it at their place of business or residence last known to you.
It is important to keep evidence of service, such as fax receipts, to provide to the adjudicator at a later date.
What happens if I can’t locate the respondent or they are interstate?
If the respondent is a QBCC licensee you may be able to use our online licence search to find an address. For anyone else, the Australian Security and Investment Commission (ASIC) provides a similar online search.
If the respondent is not in Queensland, you may still serve a payment claim on them as long as the work or supply of goods and services was carried out in Queensland.
Getting a response to your claim
The person who owes you money, the respondent, must reply to your claim with a Payment Schedule within 10 business days, or the time provided under the contract. This timing will be different if the claimed amount is over $750,000 (excluding GST).
If you receive a payment schedule
You can proceed to adjudication without notifiying the respondent if:
- the respondent has served you a ‘payment schedule’ and you are not satisfied with their response or how much they are willing to pay; or
- If the respondent has agreed to pay some of the money in a payment schedule but fails to do so by the due date.
If you don't receive a payment schedule
If the respondent fails to serve you with a payment schedule, you must give them notice of your intention to apply for adjudication of your payment claim (alternatively, in some circumstances you can recover the unpaid portion of the claim as a debt through the court).
Giving the respondent a Notice of Intention to Apply for Adjudication
You must serve a Notice of Intention to Apply on the respondent before proceeding to adjudication if they haven't served you with a payment schedule. It must be served within 20 business days immediately following the due date for payment. This is the time for payment stated in a contract; or 10 business days if the contract is silent.
What is a Notice of Intention to Apply?
The Notice is a letter you create. You just need to make sure it includes the following:
- must be in writing
- contains details of the payment claim
- clearly shows the respondent’s address
- states that is served under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004.
- states that you are proceeding to adjudication; and
- states that the respondent has five business days to serve a payment schedule on the claimant or make payment
If after five business days, you do not receive a satisfactory response, you can apply for adjudication. Visit Going to adjudication for all the information.
Your rights - suspending work
Once you have served a payment claim, you may be able to suspend work if the amount claimed remains unpaid. However, you can only do this under certain conditions. You can only suspend work if the person who owes you money didn’t:
- pay the full amount claimed by the due date and didn’t serve you a payment schedule within time; or,
- pay the amount stated in the payment schedule by the due date; or,
- pay the amount decided by an adjudicator within five business days after the due date for payment.
You need to give the respondent two days’ notice in writing, stating that you are suspending work under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld).
If you’ve been paid, you must start work again within three business days.