Get help getting paid (BCIPA)
When someone is asking you for money - payment schedules
If there is a dispute over money with a person with whom you have contracted, they can ask for payment under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004.
Even though you might have already discussed the issue and provided valid reasons for why you haven’t paid, don’t ignore a payment claim. Under the Act, if you don’t respond in writing, you are liable to pay the full amount claimed.
As long as you take action within the specified time and make sure your written response has all the key information, your side of the dispute will be heard.
Understanding the legal terms
It’s important to become familiar with the terms in this process - the person who is claiming money is the ‘claimant’ and you become the ‘respondent’. When you send your payment schedule, you ‘serve’ it on the claimant.
About the payment claim
A payment claim is a request for money from the person who performed construction work or provided you with goods or services under a construction contract. In order for it to be valid, it must contain certain information:
- the address of the person or company who is alleged to owe the money
- a clear description of the construction work or goods and services for which they have not been paid
- the site address
- the full amount including any GST that is applicable and other costs for which they are claiming payment under your contract or arrangement: and
- words similar to - "This is a payment claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld)."
Your reasons for not paying
You have a couple of options. You can pay the full amount as requested or, if you disagree, you can respond to the claim by sending a ‘payment schedule’.
The schedule is a written notice that you create, outlining your reasons for not paying or for paying only part of the claim. You must also include reference to the payment claim in your notice. For example, it could be a simple statement like ‘ I refer to the Payment Claim dated 12/08/14 from John Smith’.
Replying within the specified timeframe is extremely important. Failing to send a payment schedule, means you then become responsible to pay the full amount. Make sure you record the date you received the payment claim and the date you serve the payment schedule.
Timeframes for serving a payment schedule
- Standard claims (up to $750,000) - serve your payment schedule within 10 business days after being served a payment claim or within time under a contract – whichever is the earlier
- Complex claims (over $750,000 excl. GST). If your claim was served:
- 90 days or less after the reference date, you have 15 business days to serve a payment schedule (e.g. if reference date is 31 December and claim served before 31 March)
- more than 90 days after the reference date , you have 30 business days (e.g. if reference date is 31 December and claim served after 31 March)
Sending the payment schedule
You must ‘serve’ the payment schedule on the person or company who has served you with a payment claim.
You can do this by mailing, emailing or faxing the notice to the address or email address stated in your contract. If the 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 schedule in person by either giving it to the claimant 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.
The claimant’s response
If the claimant doesn't agree with your reasons for not paying the full amount or you didn't send a payment schedule in time, they have the right to take further action. They can use adjudication to settle the dispute or in certain circumstances they can file a claim for the amount owing, as a debt in the courts.
If the claimant chooses adjudication and you have not provided a payment schedule, you will receive a further notice called a Notice of Intention to Apply for Adjudication. The claimant is letting you know what the next step will be and is giving you the opportunity to provide a payment schedule.
See Going to adjudication to understand your role in the adjudication process.
The claimant suspends work
If you have been served a payment claim, the claimant may be able to suspend work if you don’t pay, however, they can only do this under certain circumstances. The claimant can only suspend work if you didn’t:
- pay the full amount claimed by the due date and didn’t serve 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 should be given two days notice in writing, stating that work is being suspended under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004 (Qld).
If you pay the claimant, they must start work again within three business days.