A subcontractors’ charge provides a way for subcontractors who are not being paid to secure payment of amounts owed to them under a contract by someone who is higher in the contractual chain. The charge can also attach to security held under such a contract. The aim of the charge is to provide security to a subcontractor.
A subcontractor’s charge is given under Chapter 4 of the Queensland Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (BIF) (previously under the now repealed Subcontractors’ Charges Act 1974 (SCA)).
There are, however, strict time limitations under BIF to issue a subcontractors’ charge and initiate court proceedings to ensure that the charge is not extinguished. It is vital that subcontractors get on the front foot and speak with an experienced construction lawyer.
The BIF Act also provides that a contractor who receives a subcontractors’ charge must respond within 10 business days to both the person who was given the notice of claim and the subcontractor who issued the claim of charge. Failure by the contractor to provide a response within the required timeframe is an offence and there it is imperative that a contractor also seek legal advice immediately if served with a subcontractors’ charge.
Our team are at the cutting edge of this new legislation and we are up to date with the ever-developing court decisions affecting BIF and the repealed SCA.
We are experienced in acting for clients throughout all stages of the subcontractors’ charges process, including:
- promptly issuing the notice of claim charge on behalf of subcontractors;
- advising superior contractors on how to respond if they have received a notice of claim charge;
- commencing proceedings for subcontractors in the Courts to enforce a charge;
- application to Court for payment out of Court on behalf of subcontractors; and
- responding to Court proceedings for superior contractors to minimise disruption in projects.