Strict compliance with legislative requirements necessary under Queensland SOPA
January 31, 2024
In the recent case of Iris Broadbeach Business Pty Ltd v Descon Group Australia Pty Ltd & Anor  QSC 290 the Supreme Court of Queensland considered whether a failure to comply strictly with certain requirements of the Queensland security of payment legislation rendered an adjudicator’s decision on a payment claim void.
Iris Broadbeach Business Ltd (the Principal) argued that Descon Group Australia Ltd (the Contractor) had not complied with the application process or the requirements necessary for a valid payment claim under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (Qld) (BIF Act).
Under the BIF Act, an applicant is required to serve a copy of the application for adjudication filed with the relevant authority (QBCC) on the respondent. The Contractor did not comply with this requirement and instead purported to serve the Principal with the response generated by QBCC and returned to the Contractor. Although similar in many respects, the court found that the QBCC-generated response was not the “approved form” as required by the BIF Act. Accordingly, the adjudicator did not have jurisdiction to determine the dispute.
Separately, the court found that the payment claim, the subject of the dispute, was invalid as it did not comply with the requirements of the BIF Act. In reaching her decision, Williams J emphasised the lack of precision and detail in the payment claim, and noted that it:
- did not describe or identify the actual work undertaken by the Contractor;
- was not accompanied by supporting information or material; and
- relied on the parties’ background knowledge and their previous dealings and exchanges of information.
The invalid payment claim provided a further basis for the decision that the adjudicator lacked jurisdiction to determine the dispute.
The decision is a reminder that a failure to strictly comply with the requirements of security of payment legislation may render the protections it affords null and void.
The full decision can be found here.