New laws to stop tradies being left out of pocket
WHEN a company Adam Nielsen sub-contracted for in the past said it would not pay him the $4000 he was owed, the Warwick builder had two choices.
Pursue the matter through the courts and risk drawn-out legal proceedings or let the debt slide.
He opted for the latter.
"Because it's a small amount and it's such a long and hard road to get it back, often it's less hassle and less stress to let it go," he said.
"While you are chasing it up you are not earning."
There are countless stories of subbies owed money by contractors who delay paying their dues, but amendments to the Queensland Building Industry Fairness Act will change that.
As of Monday, contractors will have to respond to every payment claim or outline a payment schedule for each subbie they owe money to.
A payment schedule must be provided within 15 business days, or the time provided in the contract, with heavy penalties in place for failing to do so.
The change also makes it easier for subbies to pursue owed money through the Queensland Building and Construction Commission adjudication process. Businesses that fail to pay money within five days of the date decided by the adjudicator face fines up to $26,110. The changes force companies to hold larger cash reserves when working on government contracts.
This was welcome news to Warwick bricklayer Tony Binns. He lost about $60,000 after a company he contracted off went into liquidation.
At the time he was building a TAFE campus and mental health unit in north Queensland as part of a government contract.
"It was a $110,000 job, I had 15 fellas working for me and the company only gave me half of what was owed," he said.