Following recent amendments to the WA Building and Construction Act, claimants and respondents alike may be left asking how these changes will impact the Security of Payments Act (‘SOPA’) claim process. Building and construction law is a complex branch of law with numerous courts and tribunals. Consequently, Solomon Brothers advocate for adapting the approach to different claim types to best present your dispute. As the debut feature in the new Solomon Brothers’ ‘How To’ series, this article will provide useful tips on building the most effective SOPA claim or response.
Building an effective SOPA claim as a claimant
A hallmark of SOPA claims is that decisions are rapid and non-binding, made by adjudicators that are typically not lawyers, though are well-versed in construction contracts. The claimant in SOPA claims is disadvantaged by an inability to know the identity of the adjudicator until after the claim is filed. As such, the claim cannot be tailored to suit the decision-maker like it would be advised in other claim areas. Like all industry professionals, SOPA adjudicators are working on a tight schedule and are compelled to make rapid decisions. Hence, building a SOPA claim must take these factors into consideration and be clear and concise to maximise effectiveness.
5 tips to build a successful SOPA claim
- Make all claims as clear as possible
- Focus on the end-user by putting yourself in their position and, as you prepare the claim, think how easy it is to read
- Use every aid possible, including drawings, photographs, etc.
- Have the claim professionally printed, paginated, and tabulated (if possible and financially viable)
- Remember that fine details are important
Creating a compelling response to a SOPA claim
Respondents are provided the advantage of knowing who the adjudicator is, and are able to use this knowledge to modify their response towards the decision-maker. Respondents are restricted, however, by tighter time constraints than the claimant. For this reason, Solomon Brothers advise that respondents should construct their response early using the above process, with emphasis on conciseness and clarity.
Perth’s construction law specialists
Established in 1987, the Solomon Brothers law firm has a long history of achievement in diverse areas of law. Our Construction Law team is highly skilled with extensive industry experience, representing the epitome of our philosophy of achieving excellence. For first-rate assistance in all areas of construction law including SOPA claims, contact Solomon Brothers and get a competitive quote from our expert Construction Law Team today.