Adjudication DIY Guide
It is absolutely vital that you know the answers to the below questions before you attempt to lodge an adjudication application:
- Was your payment claim served on or after the appropriate date, i.e. a reference date? Early payment claims may be invalid (although not always).
- Can you identify the reference date to which the payment claim relates? A reference date is when you can make a payment claim for the work carried out up to the reference date.
- Did a reference date arise at all? Just because you can make a claim at the end of the month does not necessarily mean you have a reference date. Apart from the requirement that you must do some construction work or supply related goods or services, the contract may contain provisions which may create additional references dates.
- Is your payment claim valid? Once again reference date. It might need supporting statements or an endorsement that it is made under the Act (depends on your contract).
- Did you receive a payment schedule within time allowed by the Act (10 business date after you served the payment claim)?
- Is the payment schedule valid? It must propose an amount to be paid (if any), must relate back to your payment claim and must state reasons why the scheduled amount is less than the claimed amount.
- Do you know your due date for payment? Again, the contract will usually nominate a due date for payment. However, it cannot be longer then prescribed by the Act (for contracts entered into under the amended Act).
- Are you still within the time allowed by the Act to lodge an adjudication application? You usually have 10 business days after you receive a valid payment schedule.
- Were all the documents served in accordance with the Act, please read our service of documents page.
Failure to correctly comply with the Act in relation to the above items at best should result in rejected adjudication application and at worst the adjudication application may succeed only to be quashed in the Supreme Court later, read our Adjudication page for more information.
Adjudication is done by correspondence, there will be no oral arguments in front of the adjudicator and in 99% of cases you will never see the adjudicator.
There really is no “correct’ way to do an adjudication submission. It is up to you how you put it together, but ideally it should:
- Start off with an introduction. Briefly describe the project and what you did and when.
- Go into details of your payment claim, why are you due the money? Do this for every item.
- Discuss why the reasons given (if any) by the respondent for non-payment are invalid.
- Attach and refer in your submission to all the evidence you think is relevant.
- Your argument should be structured around your contract, for example you must demonstrate that the money you are claiming for the work carried out are due and payable under the contract. Ideally you should also prove that the reasons for non-payment (by the respondent) are invalid and not in accordance with the contract.
- Preferably you should know the basic contract law principles.
- Very rarely will you be allowed to submit any additional information to the adjudicator and as such you must include all the information, evidence, arguments in your original application. Should you submit unsolicited additional information, it will most likely be ignored by the adjudicator.
- You have to demonstrate that you have carried out the work. Merely stating that my contract is for $40,000 and this is why my claim is $40,000 usually will not be sufficient.
- The adjudicator is not there to babysit you. You must explain what the evidence is and how it supports your case. It’s not good enough to just attach bunch of photos or emails and hope that the adjudicator will make sense of it.
- State facts, don’t cry to the adjudicator of how bad you were treated.
- Keep in mind that while most adjudicators have good knowledge of construction practices, they are not experts in every field. Your arguments must be understood by a person who does not necessarily know all technicalities and jargons of your trade (e.g. electrical).
- A good test would be to give a draft version of your application to someone who does not know the project and see if they can understand what you are trying to argue.