PMWeb provides powerful tools for managing contractor progress claims and facilitating compliance with security of payment law as it has been implemented in the various States in Australia. PMWeb’s record, workflow and notifications features operate in concert to streamline claims processing.
The High Court of Australia – the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia – made its first decision in this last week relating to security of payment law – in this case in relation to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW).
The High Court’s judgment in Southern Han Breakfast Point Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) v Lewence Construction Pty Ltd  HCA 52 affirms that there must be a ‘reference date’ for the claim to be valid. The reference date is the date on which a claim for a progress payment may be made, as stated in the contract; or the last day of the month if the contract does not specify such a date.
The High Court held that the existence of a reference date under a construction contract is a precondition of making a valid payment claim. Therefore, a payment claim that is not in respect of a reference date will not be treated as a payment claim under the Act. In practical terms this means that a payment claim must be made on the basis of a reference date to be valid under the Act. The absence of a reference date for the claim will provide solid ground to argue the claim is invalid.
PMWeb configuration should include a field to capture the reference date; and the Payment Claim produced by PMWeb should always state the reference date. Workflow configurations can also include validation checks to ensure compliance.