Each state and territory has its own security of payments laws to help ensure subcontractors are paid on time for their work.

All code covered contractors must report delays or unpaid payments to subcontractors to the ABCC.

The ABCC has introduced a quicker and easier way for head contractors and subbies to report concerns and meet their security of payments’ reporting requirements. 

ABCC’s jurisdiction

The ABCC has national responsibility under the Code for the Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (2016 Code) to ensure 2016 Code covered entities meet their payment requirements.

Head contractors covered by the code should review their payment systems to ensure they pay on time and if problems arise report them immediately to the ABCC.

This can be done using our new streamlined online reporting form which takes just minutes to complete.   

What is the best way to handle delayed or non-payments?

According to the ABCC’s Director of Code Operations Michael Tahan, disputes between head contractors and subcontractors will invariably happen.

“The relevant state and territory security of payment laws provide a mechanism to handle disputes in an efficient way, ensuring work can continue on site with minimal disruption” says Michael.

“Taking a disagreement about payments to court, as opposed to seeking adjudication, can be a time consuming and expensive process.”

“The adjudication process is efficient and affordable and can generally be resolved in as little as six to eight weeks from when an adjudication application is made”.

In the instance of a code covered entity refusing to abide by the adjudicator’s determination, the ABCC can review the matter and assess the contractor’s compliance with the Code.

Deputy Commissioner Corporate and Code Jill Jepson says while the agency’s preference is to see self-rectification between the parties, in extreme cases where a head contractor has refused to abide by the adjudicated outcome, the ABCC has recommended to the Minister that sanctions be applied.

“This is a significant tool given that a sanction can prevent a company from tendering for Commonwealth Government funded work for up to 12 months,” Jill says.

“Given the many billions of dollars in Commonwealth funded construction work this is a major reason for doing the right thing. And if that is not incentive enough, the reputational risk of being known as a late, or non-payer should convince all head contractors to do the right thing.” 

Contractor responsibilities

If you undertake Commonwealth funded building work you are likely to be covered by the Code for Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 (the Code). Under the Code contractors have certain responsibilities. These include:

  • Paying subcontractors in a timely manner
  • Resolving disputes reasonably, timely and cooperatively
  • Documenting and following your dispute settlement process
  • Not coercing or pressuring subcontractors regarding payment 
  • Complying with any adjudication determinations, and
  • Reporting payment disputes or delays to the ABCC. 

Subcontractor rights

If a contractor owes you money and you think they tender for Commonwealth-funded building work contact the ABCC. We will find out if they are covered by the Code.

If you are being pressured to not make a claim for payment, or to not refer a dispute to adjudication, report it to us and we will help if we can. 

How we can help you

When you report to us we will check whether the contractor who owes you money is code covered. If they are we will help you with your complaint. If they are not code covered we can still provide you with information about accessing adjudication and refer you to the relevant state or territory agency.