Over the last 12 months, there have been numerous reports of a skills shortage in the Western Australian building and construction industry – in both blue and white-collar sectors. While the current boom is nowhere near that of 2012, there are a number of factors making it more difficult to top up the Western Australian building and construction industry from outside sources.
This week (on 22 June 2021), amendments to the WA regime as set out in the Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Bill 2021 were passed by both houses of WA Parliament and is currently awaiting formal assent by Governor. With a Western Australian security of payment regime set to undergo a root and branch overhaul, it is time to ask yourself: Am I SOPA ready?
At the heart of the appeal was the question of whether an estoppel would operate to prevent a party, which directed additional works outside the express contractual variation regime, from bringing those works back within the contractual variation regime and then using the time bar provisions of that regime to bar the claim.
This is a short article regarding two dissimilar cases, both of which focus attention on the fact that the boilerplate terms of contracts can have a significant impact on the conduct of construction disputes.
While the usual caveats that apply to the impact of decisions refusing to grant summary judgment apply to NRW Contracting Pty Ltd v Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd  WASCA 2020, there are at least important take-aways from the decision. The fact that it is a Court of Appeal decision also makes it worthy of note.
The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in Kilmaley Investments Pty Ltd v City of Wanneroo  WASCA 156 is an interesting development in case law relating to the assignability of a right to statutory compensation.
The main issue concerns a builder’s ability to recover money for the entirety of the work performed on a quantum meruit basis as an alternative to contractual damages where the owner repudiates the contract.