Common Traps

The following examples only apply to the current version of the SOP act (NSW only), if your contract was entered into before April 2014 some of the below examples may not apply.

  • Serving early progress claims. Such claims may be invalid, therefore you may not be able to use the statutory mechanism provided by the Act.
  • Serving more than one claim per month. Only one claim may be served in relation to the same reference date. You may serve multiple claims together for the same project, for example, a claim for contract works with variations claims attached, as long as they are served together. Don’t serve claims on random dates following one another.
  • Receiving a payment schedule that you are not happy with and then doing nothing about it. You only have very limited time to adjudicate, 10 business days after you receive a valid payment schedule. It is quite possible that you will have no other opportunities to lodge a claim under the Act and thus will have no opportunity to lodge an adjudication application.
  • Serving your payment claim and not receiving a payment schedule (or payments) within the time allowed under the Act and then doing nothing about it. You must follow additional steps under the Act to allow you to lodge an adjudication application otherwise you might waste your chance to adjudicate. That said, if the respondent fails to provide a payment schedule within the timeframes allowed under the Act, you might have a right for a summary judgement in a court with an applicable jurisdiction (you need to seek legal advice).
  • Serving claims outside the 12 month period. Unless the contract clearly provides for longer period, you cannot make a payment claim under the Act if it relates back to the work carried out more than 12 months ago. It is essential that you have carried out at least some work in the last 12 month period, if you did, then you may also claim the work carried out prior to that as long as it a part of the same contract.
  • Serving claims without supporting statements. If you are a head contractor (for the purposes of the Act) you must attach a supporting statement with every claim you serve under the Act to the Principal. The supporting statement must be in a form as prescribed by the Act and it is an offence to serve a claim without such statement attached and the service of such claim will be invalid under the Act.  This does not apply to subcontractors even if they are contracting directly with the principals. Please refer to the Act for the definitions.