Minister for Housing and Public Works
The Honourable Bruce Flegg
Minister looks at reforms to help sub-contractors get paid
Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg is examining a number of reforms, including legislative changes, to help sub-contractors receive payment for their work.
Dr Flegg said non-payment was an issue throughout the economy because of ongoing financial difficulties and the ‘cascading’ payments system of the building industry often meant those at the base of the industry were hardest hit.
“I am working closely with the Building Services Authority on implementing a number of changes which I hope will expedite and improve sub-contractor payments in the future,” Dr Flegg said.
The changes include an overhaul of the unsatisfied judgment debts system, whereby contractors will have their licence cancelled if they fail to comply with a court-ordered payment, without lodging an appeal.
“Contractors are currently able to incur three judgment debts before their licence is cancelled, which is unacceptable. I will legislate to have their licence cancelled after the first failure and if a second failure occurred in future, that would result in a life ban.”
Dr Flegg said he was also looking at legislative changes to void items within a contract that were ‘unfair’.
‘Unfair contractual clauses that inappropriately or unjustly favour one party will be outlawed. There will be consultation with industry groups on this but I want to see a fairer, more streamlined contractual system in the industry.”
Dr Flegg said he had also asked the BSA to better integrate the information available on its main website and its Building and Construction Industry Payments Agency (BCIPA) website.
“This will provide more information to sub-contractors about any adjudication decisions recorded against the entity they are contracting with.”
The Minister said he would also be consulting with the industry on possible mechanisms to help ensure sub-contractors received payment when it was due.
He said he was also encouraging sub-contractors to use BCIPA, which had proven an effective tool in obtaining debts owed to them through adjudication.
“I want to try and get subbies to be more familiar with BCIPA and to be more willing to use it to help them.”