Approaching Adjudication under NSW Security of Payment Legislation: How to Draft Adjudication Application for Construction Industry Payment Claims

6 min read

In the construction industry, the Security of Payment Act 1999 (SOPA) plays a critical role in ensuring that payments are made promptly, and disputes are resolved efficiently during construction work. Adjudication under SOPA provides a streamlined, cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation, helping to maintain cash flow and reduce the financial burden on parties involved in construction contract disputes. This guide outlines the key steps involved in the adjudication process under the New South Wales SOPA, talks about the process of preparing an adjudication application for payment claims and presents some critical tips for drafting a successful adjudication application.

Table of Contents

Step-by-Step Overview of Adjudication Process under Security of Payment Act in NSW

StepActionDescription
1Preparation of Adjudication ApplicationThe claimant prepares an adjudication application detailing the payment dispute and supporting documents.
2Submission to ANAThe application is submitted to an Authorised Nominating Authority, which will appoint an adjudicator.
3Service of ApplicationThe claimant serves a copy of the adjudication application on the respondent to inform them of the proceedings.
4Right to RespondIf a payment schedule was previously provided, the respondent must submit an adjudication response within 5 days of receiving the application or within 2 business days after the adjudicator’s acceptance, whichever is later.
5Determination PeriodThe adjudicator has 10 business days to make a determination after receiving the adjudication response, or from the date the response was due if no response is provided.
6Extension of TimeThe determination period can be extended by agreement among all parties involved.
7Payment of Adjudicated AmountThe respondent must pay the adjudicated amount within 5 business days of the determination being served or by the payment due date, whichever is later.
8Non-Payment and SuspensionIf the respondent fails to pay, the claimant may suspend work after providing two days’ written notice and apply for an Adjudication Certificate.
9Enforcement through CourtThe Adjudication Certificate can be filed in court to be entered as a judgment, allowing enforcement if payment is still not made.

To understand more about SOPA, please read our detailed guide here.

Preparing Adjudication Application for Successful Payment Claim: Things You Must Know

Preparing an effective adjudication application is crucial for successfully resolving disputes under the Security of Payment Act. Here’s a detailed guide on how to prepare your application:

Understand and Meet Deadlines

Familiarize yourself with the specific deadlines for lodging your application as outlined by the relevant legislation, such as the NSW Security of Payment Act. Timing is crucial, and missing a deadline can forfeit your right to adjudication.

Choose an Authorised Nominating Authority (ANA)

Identify an ANA that provides standardized forms or has an automated application process on their website. These forms are designed to help you provide all necessary information required under the Act.

Complete the Application Form

Download and fill out the form from the ANA’s website. Make sure to accurately and thoroughly provide all the details related to the Payment Claim, the Payment Schedule, and the application itself.

Include Essential Documents

Attach a copy of the Payment Claim and any relevant Payment Schedules to your application. If there is a written contract related to the work, include this as well.

Make Written Submissions

Apart from the standard information, you should make additional written submissions to the Adjudicator. These should argue your case for why the claimed amount should be paid and address any reasons given by the Respondent in the Payment Schedule for reducing the payment.  Clearly explain your entitlement to the claimed amount, detail how the claimed amount was calculated, reference specific parts of the contract as necessary, and confirm that the work for which payment is claimed was indeed performed.

If the Payment Schedule includes complex contractual or legal arguments, or if the Respondent outright denies liability, it’s advisable to consult a specialist building and construction lawyer.  A lawyer specialized in this field can draft compelling arguments and make a persuasive case that aligns with contractual interpretations and legal precedents, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.

By meticulously preparing your adjudication application and ensuring all submissions are comprehensive and well-supported, you enhance your likelihood of securing a favorable decision. Always consider professional legal advice to navigate complex issues and to present a strong case in the adjudication process.

Essential Tips for Drafting an Adjudication Application

A well-prepared application serves as the foundation of your argument and determines how effectively your case is communicated to the adjudicator. It should be precise, well-organized, and comprehensive, providing all the necessary details to substantiate your claim. Below, we outline several critical tips to consider when drafting your adjudication application. These tips are aimed at enhancing clarity, ensuring compliance with legal standards, and ultimately positioning your case favorably in the adjudication process.

Detail the Substance of Your Claim

Your application should thoroughly document the basis of your claim. This includes detailed descriptions of the work done, services provided, and any other contractual obligations fulfilled that are under dispute. Attach all relevant documentation like contracts, emails, photographs, invoices, and expert reports.

Keep Submissions Concise

Make sure that written submissions are short and directly address the points at issue. This helps in making your application clear and to the point.

Itemize and Separate Submissions

If the payment claim is itemized, prepare separate written submissions for each item claimed. This structured approach helps in dealing with each item’s specific issues effectively.

Counteract Respondent’s Arguments

Include submissions that specifically address and refute the respondent’s reasons for short payment or any deductions.

Use Visual Aids

Incorporate plans, specifications, diagrams, and photographs in the application. These can significantly aid the adjudicator’s understanding of the dispute, particularly with complex items.

Address Any Backcharges

Clearly and specifically address any deductions for defects, rectifications, or delay damages that you believe the respondent is not entitled to claim, providing reasons for your stance.

Provide a Clear Reconciliation

Offer a detailed reconciliation showing the relationship between contract amounts, payment claims, scheduled payments, and actual payments received. This is often the first task an adjudicator undertakes, and doing it for them can clarify your position and potentially expedite the review process.

Assume Adjudicator’s Knowledge

Do not include submissions about the statutory framework or case law unless it directly impacts the claim. Assume that the adjudicator is already familiar with their legal framework and duties.

Ensure that your submissions are both legally and factually robust. This includes clear legal arguments where applicable and factual evidence to support your claims. It’s important to frame your submissions in a way that aligns with the legal standards the adjudicator will use to assess the case.

Formatting for Electronic Submissions

Most nominating authorities accept electronic submissions. Ensure your documents are properly formatted, clearly labeled, and easy to navigate electronically, which can include hyperlinks in larger documents to sections or evidence for easy reference.

Preemptive Responses

Anticipate potential counterarguments from the respondent and address these in your application proactively. This shows thorough preparation and can mitigate the impact of the respondent’s submissions.

Maintain a Professional Tone

While it’s important to assertively present your case, maintaining a professional and respectful tone throughout your application is crucial. This reflects well on your credibility and seriousness about the process.

Serve Your Adjudication Application Properly

Make sure to serve the application correctly as per the requirements of the Act and ensure the respondent receives all the necessary documentation within the stipulated timeframe. Proper service is essential to ensure the legal process is upheld.

Seek Professional Help

Consider hiring a professional, such as a construction lawyer, especially in complex cases. They can provide valuable insight into both the legal framework and strategic considerations specific to adjudication processes.

Lodge an Adjudication Application to Get What You are Owed. Contact Us Now.

Understanding the adjudication process under SOPA is essential for builders and construction managers to effectively manage and resolve payment disputes. By following the outlined steps—from preparing and submitting an adjudication application to enforcing a determination—construction professionals can ensure they are upholding their rights and obligations under the act. If you require further assistance or have specific questions regarding SOPA and how to make a successful payment claim, PBL Law Group is here to help. Contact us today!

Loading

Picture of Authored By<br>Raea Khan

Authored By
Raea Khan

Director Lawyer, PBL Law Group

Find what you need
Share this Article

Book a 15-Min Consultation​

Rated 5-Star By Our Clients

Jye Hall
Anita Bradley has been an absolute dream to deal with. Anita's conveyancing skills and knowledge knows absolutely no boundaries along with her effective communication skills which has made selling and buying a completely stress free exchange for us. We recommend PBL Law to everyone looking for outstanding service. We will definitely be returning clients.
Kushlan Aluwihare
PBL Law Group were fantastic. Anita from PBL worked with us closely during our property search and made the exchange and settlement process smooth and stress free. Highly recommended.
Gail Whitford
PBL handled my late mothers estate, they were very obliging and patient with any and all questions that we had, thank you to David , Sharon and the other staff that we dealt with, everyone was so easy to talk to and friendly .David came to the home where my Mother was living and helped her to get her will in order, Sharon helped us through the process of executing her wishes when the time came even doing a house call which was so much easier, thank you all so much
S M
I have experienced an excellent service from PBL (especially from Anita) during the sale of my recent property on Central Coast, and during the purchase of our current property in Sydney. Throughout many challengers, especially with the sale, Anita presented her very professional and knowledgeable conveyancer, positively solving all obstacles. "Above and Beyond" Award going to Anita!!! :-)
Amanda Reitzin
The five-star reviews are well-deserved. I needed a motion and a bylaw drawn up for urgent repairs of my strata unit and the AGM was in two weeks' time. My solicitor was friendly, efficient, knew what documents to ask for, and had all the paperwork prepared well within the timeframe. She also took the time to run through all the legalese and the different possible scenarios with me to make sure I understood. I am so glad to have found this firm and I will not hesitate to use their services again in future if the need arises.
Ricky Cooper
Anita is amazing! So attentive, approachable and communicates everything every step of the way. I have now bought and sold property with Anita and I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Ron Thomsen
Our Commercial Property conveyancing was handled very professionally. Anita’s experience and responsiveness was an asset in this transaction.
Trace M
I am so grateful for Anita Bradley from PBL Law Group helped me with this property settlement, she has went above beyond to ensure I understand everything because of our deafness. I will recommended Anita or their team. Thank you so much for all the hard work you have done for us.
Tricia Wheatstone
For almost 18 months I have been a client of Alex Ilkin. Alex is very knowledgeable and professional and has consistently provided me with thorough, honest and well set out advice, including steering my case through appeal proceedings. He always worked for my best interests with integrity and compassion. I recommend Alex and his team at PBL.

Latest insights & Practical Guides

Speak to us Now or Request a Consultation.

We will call you within 24 hours.

How Can Our Expert Lawyers Help?

Strata Law

Property and strata disputes, building defects claims, setting up new Owners Corporations and more…

Construction & Building Law

Construction and building disputes, building defects, delays and claims, debt recovery and more…

International Estate Planning

Cross-border estate planning, international wills and trusts, tax-efficient wealth transfer strategies and more…

Commercial & Business Law

Starting and scaling your business, banking and business financing, bankruptcy and insolvency and more…

Planning & Environment Law

Environment and planning regulation, land and environment court disputes, sub-divisions and more…

Wills & Estates

Creating, updating and contesting wills, estate planning and administration, probate applications and more…

Thank You For Your Request.

We’ve received your consultation request and will contact you within the next 24 hours (excluding weekends).

Jye Hall
Anita Bradley has been an absolute dream to deal with. Anita's conveyancing skills and knowledge knows absolutely no boundaries along with her effective communication skills which has made selling and buying a completely stress free exchange for us. We recommend PBL Law to everyone looking for outstanding service. We will definitely be returning clients.
Kushlan Aluwihare
PBL Law Group were fantastic. Anita from PBL worked with us closely during our property search and made the exchange and settlement process smooth and stress free. Highly recommended.
Gail Whitford
PBL handled my late mothers estate, they were very obliging and patient with any and all questions that we had, thank you to David , Sharon and the other staff that we dealt with, everyone was so easy to talk to and friendly .David came to the home where my Mother was living and helped her to get her will in order, Sharon helped us through the process of executing her wishes when the time came even doing a house call which was so much easier, thank you all so much
S M
I have experienced an excellent service from PBL (especially from Anita) during the sale of my recent property on Central Coast, and during the purchase of our current property in Sydney. Throughout many challengers, especially with the sale, Anita presented her very professional and knowledgeable conveyancer, positively solving all obstacles. "Above and Beyond" Award going to Anita!!! :-)
Amanda Reitzin
The five-star reviews are well-deserved. I needed a motion and a bylaw drawn up for urgent repairs of my strata unit and the AGM was in two weeks' time. My solicitor was friendly, efficient, knew what documents to ask for, and had all the paperwork prepared well within the timeframe. She also took the time to run through all the legalese and the different possible scenarios with me to make sure I understood. I am so glad to have found this firm and I will not hesitate to use their services again in future if the need arises.
Ricky Cooper
Anita is amazing! So attentive, approachable and communicates everything every step of the way. I have now bought and sold property with Anita and I cannot recommend her highly enough.
Ron Thomsen
Our Commercial Property conveyancing was handled very professionally. Anita’s experience and responsiveness was an asset in this transaction.
Trace M
I am so grateful for Anita Bradley from PBL Law Group helped me with this property settlement, she has went above beyond to ensure I understand everything because of our deafness. I will recommended Anita or their team. Thank you so much for all the hard work you have done for us.
Tricia Wheatstone
For almost 18 months I have been a client of Alex Ilkin. Alex is very knowledgeable and professional and has consistently provided me with thorough, honest and well set out advice, including steering my case through appeal proceedings. He always worked for my best interests with integrity and compassion. I recommend Alex and his team at PBL.