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From ‘Subbie bashing’ to ‘Smash and Grab’ Adjudication

From Subbie bashing to Smash and Grab Adjudication – what construction professionals need to be thinking every day in order to win or lose disputes quickly and cost effectively

Did you know that every construction contract must make clear when the due date is for each payment AND make clear a final date for payment? If the contract does not the construction act implies payment terms into the contract. Understanding this makes a huge difference to your risk of non-payment.

At the end of a job the need to co-operate reduces and a blame culture can prevail if the job has been difficult. Very often the problem and costs will be kicked down the contractual chain from the strong to the weak. Very often contractors and subbies have payment unfairly withheld.

The way you apply for payment and deal with the contractual payment terms could mean the difference between insolvency and profit. At Helix Law we are dealing daily with construction disputes and in 80% of cases the payer has not served a valid notice to pay less. This gives the payee a quick and low risk opportunity to get paid their full application, leaving the payer to bring an expensive and risky claim for contra charges they may find difficult to prove.

Whether you are an architect, developer, subcontractor or main contractor you need to be aware of the risk of not fully understanding a smash and grab adjudication. You need to be thinking about it daily. For every contract you need to identify the due date and the final date for payment with confidence and run your applications and notice regimes to those dates.

Fully understanding the significance of notices to pay less and the power they confer

Everyone should fully understand and appreciate the significance of notices to pay less and Smash and Grab adjudications because they:

• Allow complex disputes to be resolved in 28 days
• Prevent the payer from claiming contra charges before paying the sum applied for – its ‘pay now, argue later’
• Allow the small player to beat the big player
• Save businesses from going under
• Can result in overpayment

Attend our seminar to gain essential knowledge about getting paid from our experts

The speakers are Jonathan Waters and Michael Janney. They both have extensive experience in advising construction companies and employers and resolving their disputes. Jonathan is the founder of Helix Law and Michael specialises in disputes relating to defective workmanship, negligent design, extensions of time, loss and expense, measurement and final account payments.

The seminar will clarify:

• How to determine due dates and final dates for payment
• How and when to serve a notice to pay less
• How to run a Smash and Grab adjudication to get paid quickly if no notice to pay less has been served
• Why this is so important

Jonathan Waters is the founder of Helix Law. Before qualifying as a Solicitor and Barrister (non-practicing) he worked in industry and in investment banking for over a decade. He was also the Partner in charge of Commercial Litigation, Employment Law and Property Litigation at Stephen Rimmer LLP. Jonathan has wide experience of helping and advising businesses to avoid or to deal with commercial disputes.