Almost every contract for building work on common property is subject to the provisions of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (“SOPA”).
Amongst other things, this Act provides:-
SOPA time limits are short and can not be extended.
The owners corporation may need legal assistance to prepare a payment schedule or an adjudication response. That assistance may be estimated to cost more than the amount set out in Regulation 15 of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010. In such a case the SOPA time limits will expire before an owners corporation can authorize the provision of legal advice and its legal rights will be lost.
Whenever an owners corporation enters into a construction contract for the common property it should pass, at a general meeting, a resolution authorising the obtaining of legal advice in relation to the contract and SOPA matters based on a fee estimate provided by a solicitor. For matters where the building contract is approved by the executive committee, it is often the case that a general meeting will be scheduled during the contract negotiations or shortly after. In such a case a motion should be placed on the meeting agenda.
Many thanks to J.S Mueller and Co Solicitors for providing this article.