Construction Law/Payments

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Question
We were hire as a sub-contractor, the GC has delayed paying my company for work that was done back in September. As time was going by, I kept getting work from the GC. We were told that our checks were in on a friday. Showed up to pick up and was told that they would not be releasing the checks because several of my employee had called and complaint that they did not get paid. I explain to them that Friday was pay day and was told that everyone had to come in on monday and sign a weiver stating that my company had paid them. On mondy all my employees showed up and weivers were signed. GC then stated that we still would not be getting paid until a few days later. And that they would be cutting out the checks to each of my employees. Can they do this? My employees signed and told them that they did get paid and those that did call were talking about that Fridays pay day...What can I do to get my money from them. If I go over their heads and contact the school who gave the GC the work , will that hold my checks even longer?

Answer
Dear Lydia,

Your case seems a little unusual. In order to answer you properly i must confirm that my understanding is correct:

What i have understood so far, is that you are a subcontractor who has a contract with a main contractor. The main contractor has been delinquent in administering payment on time to you, which has consequently affected the payment of "your workers" on the said project.The main contractor has also opted to pay your workers directly.

If your contract is one where you are obligated to pay your workers directly, then your workers should not be negotiating with the main contractor for payment. In addition to this,the main contractor should not encourage any payment negotiations with your  employees.

Based on what you have said, i suggest that you re-visit the contract you have with the main contractor and review the payment terms. If within the contract there is a way to deal with delayed payments and rights of the subcontractor, i suggest that you apply the relevant steps for remedial action. If there is no such clause in your contract dealing with this issue, then contacting a lawyer should be your next step. Contacting the School (Client) to reprimand the main contractor may not be the best option in resolving this dispute and should not be entertained.

I hope this answers your question.


Best Regards  

Construction Law

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Expertise

All questions pertaining to Construction Law isses, ie, Claims EOT Loss of Profit Variations Damages ADR Delays and disruption Professional Negligence

Experience

Certified Arbitrator/ Mediator & Senior Quantity Surveyor Contract manager for Major Construction Firm From 2008 - 2010 Quantity Surveyor for over 16 years dealing with all issues of construction disputes, claims and general contract administration.

Organizations
Member of CIArb Member of ISTT (Institute of Surveyors of Trinidad & Tobago)

Publications
Thesis for Robert Gordon University re: "Professional Negligence in the Construction Industry[20,000 words]" Report for Deakin University "Failures in Slipform Construction [10,000 words]"

Education/Credentials
LLM in COnstruction Law & Arbitration (Robert Gordon Institute 2010) Graduate Diploma in Quantity Surveying (Deakin University Australia - 2007) Civil Engineering Technician Diploma (John D Institute Trinidad 1995) General Draghting Diploma (S'fdo Tech Inst. Trinidad 1984)

Awards and Honors
Distinction in Quantity Surveying via Deakin University (Graduate diploma in Quatity Surveying)

Past/Present Clients
VINCI COnstruction Grans Projets Kee Channona Limited (Trinidad & Tobago) NH International (Caribbean Limited)

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