Newcastle transport interchange builders in $2.5m bill dispute forced to count the cost of each bolt

DISPUTE: The $200 million Newcastle transport interchange at Wickham under construction in June 2017.THE builder of Newcastle’s $200 million transport interchangeand one of its subcontractors are embroiled in a fight over almost $2.5 million in disputed payments.
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Laing O’Rourke Construction took action in the Supreme Court last month against rail infrastructure subcontractor, Monford Group, attempting to have an adjudicator’s decision aboutpayment overturned.

The dispute relatesto a bill for $2.47 million Monford lodged with Laing O’Rourke in September last year for work the company claimed was done on the transport interchange at Wickham.

Newcastle transport interchange builders in dispute over $2.5m bill TweetFacebook The construction of Newcastle InterchangeIn October, Laing O’Rourke told the subcontractorit was not paying and Monford Groupmade an application under the Construction Industry Security of Payment Act to have an adjudicator rule on the dispute.

READ MORE:’This is going to change things’: inside theNewcastle Interchange

Monford claimedit was owed $2.72 million for workand variations to itsoriginal contract.

According to the adjudicator’s original decision, Monford provided details of thework carried out on the transport interchangeby identifyingthe number of bolts used oneach platform.

It also submitteddaily timesheets signed by Laing O’Rourke and a purchase order detailing costs incurred.

In November, the adjudicator ruled Monford was owed $1.17 million, including $590,288.97 for variations or additional work.

Unhappy with the decision, Laing O’Rourke took action in the Supreme Court disputing claims for variationsvalued at more than $2 million.

It claimed that some of the work carried out by Monford did not constitute a variationand so the money was not owed.

Justice James Stevenson found the adjudicator’s decision was made “without jurisdiction” and overturned the decision.

READ MORE:’Glorious day’: Newcastle Interchange at Wickham opens

He foundthe adjudicator ruled in favour of Monford based on rejecting LaingO’Rourke’s argumentsabout the variations, “without any consideration of whether Monford had carried out the work, or the value of the work carried out”.

He also found that in six of the claims the adjudicator did not consider whether the work was a variation to Monford’soriginal contract.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story said Laing O’Rourke was the builder of the light rail project. This was incorrect. It is the builder of the Wickham interchange for light and heavy rail services.