If you as a builder want the respect and trust of subcontractors, you need to conduct yourself with integrity at all times but I know for some predators, that is impossible.
We will no longer put up with standover tactics or lies, late payments, you pocketing our retentions and ambit claims in QCAT and the Courts.
Over the years I have known many good builders, hard working, good paying and honest in their dealings with their long term subcontractors and clients. Not all builders are unscrupulous but the system is designed to allow them free reign in their conduct in regard to subcontractor payments and when that happens, dishonest people will always take advantage of the situation.
The majority of builders fit into the the genuine category and with Subbies United working with these quality builders, collectively we can make a difference in the industry which might help us sleep a little easier at night.
We live in the 21st Century yet builders are still allowed to take retentions out of subcontract payments and hold 5% reduced to 2.5% for 12 months, interest free. It's a travesty of justice that retentions are not held in trust by a governing body.
There is no doubt that in many instances, the builder uses the retention as working capital and when those funds are due and payable to the Subcontractor, it's very difficult and time consuming getting paid.
Why are retentions required anyway?
Under the Australian Consumer Law we as retailers or subcontractors, automatically give certain guarantees. Its a statutory requirement under ACCC guidelines to give customers 12 months warranty.
Some builders with huge turnover would have millions of dollars of Subcontractors retention's in their accounts and the temptation is there for them to use those retentions for cashflow.
In my 50 odd years in this industry, I have come across some absolute bastards to deal with and one of them comes immediately to mind. You always come away losing something and feeling completely used and abused. In my case I lost 3 months of my time I should have put into our business plus a substantial sum of money on legal advice. Instead of working on our businesses, I was consumed with a defence against a rabid wolf growling at the door.
In this case, I spent 3 months defending an ambit claim that was escalated in stages from his first claim against us of 8k to eventually reach 30k for a job that was quoted and accepted at 22k.
In the end he was awarded $102.50 as compensation to clean the glass because he wouldn't let us back on site but his claim against us cost him almost a thousand times that amount.
The privilege of having hard working Subcontractors in your employ will no longer be abused, keep that in mind, we can and will fight back with a vengeance.