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Building law changes should hasten dispute resolution

Building law changes should hasten dispute resolution

Jan 29 (BusinessDesk) - Changes to the Construction Contracts Act have been introduced in Parliament to expand the scope of accelerated dispute resolution processes.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson tabled the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill in Parliament today, the first sitting day of Parliament for 2013, although it has yet to be formally introduced with a First Reading.

The proposed changes remove the distinction between residential and commercial construction contracts; broaden the definition of construction work to include design, engineering and quantity survey work; allow more direct enforcement of determinations about rights and obligations; and reduces to five days the time a defendant has to oppose an application to have an adjudication determination entered.

"Construction contract disputes will be dealt with faster and more cost effectively," said Williamson.

The changes are "part of a package of building law reforms aimed at making improvements to the building sector’s accountability and productivity," he said.

The Construction Contracts Act 2002 created default progress payment provisions for construction contracts, provided an adjudication process for disputes, as well as ways of recovering non-payment of construction contracts.

“A review of the Act in 2009 concluded reasonably minor amendments could give it a wider application, and many of the suggestions made in the review are contained in the amendments introduced today,” Williamson said.


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