We provide constructive advice in plain English, from contract formation (including tenders) to dispute resolution procedures, including adjudications and arbitration.
At the formation stage, we work closely with our clients to understand their business (including their risk profile) in order to draft and negotiate contracts that provide certainty and a degree of comfort.
Once work begins, there are certain types of disputes that arise over and over again including alleged defects, where works are variations (especially in the context of lump sum contracts), EOT claims, the application of liquidated damages and payment disputes. If and when they do arise, our lawyers draw on their knowledge and experience to provide strategies for achieving a positive outcome. We will assist you to understand your rights and your responsibilities so that you can make your own fully informed decisions about the conduct of your matter.
For example, when payment disputes arise, you may be able to submit the payment dispute to adjudication under the Construction Contracts Act 2004 (WA). The adjudication process is based on the principle “pay first, argue later” and involves an independent adjudicator determining the amount that they believe is due and payable. At Fletcher Law, we can assist you to understand the process as well as act on your behalf in relation to the preparation or defence of adjudication applications.
Many contracts will include a provision that any disputes that cannot be resolved through mediation go to arbitration. In Western Australia the arbitration process is governed by the Commercial Arbitration Act 2012 (which is based on model international laws). The function of the arbitrator is to determine the dispute much in the same way that a judge would. The arbitrator’s decision is final, subject to limited rights of appeal. We can help you navigate the arbitration process to a successful outcome.
Our Perth building and construction lawyers have also acted for clients in relation to a wide range of home building disputes under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 as well as providing representation before the Building Commission (this role was formerly undertaken by the Building Disputes Tribunal) and any necessary applications to the State Administrative Tribunal.