Subcontractor: Is the main contractor not paying you?

You have done the work & now you're not being paid. Your next step could be crucial.

Stewart Patterson Mediator, business mediation servicesAs a specialist Subcontractor it can be hard in business, and so it will be no shock that you are going to be confronted with trouble involving payments.

I personally have a great deal of experience in resolving disputes and payment related problems for individuals and companies within the construction industry. It is more than probable that I’ll be able to help you get paid by the Contractor or Quantity Surveyor as quickly as possible.

The Contractor is failing to pay you

There are numerous situations that arise between Subcontractors and Contractors, many of them at some point involve payments. Getting the right advice is essential.

Does any of this sound familiar:

  • Your variations are not being valued correctly
  • Set off and contra charges are being made
  • Payment is delayed
  • The Contractor or Surveyor are not paying up

You’d like to know:

  • If you can you suspend work?
  • If you should you walk off site?
  • Are mediation or arbitration practical options?
  • Is taking Court action avoidable?

With a little expert knowledge and some carefully taken steps, there are a number of things that you can do to help ensure prompt payment by the contractor to you, the subcontractor.

The advantages of first speaking to a barrister

Sub Contractor Non paymentIn order to fix these kinds of issues successfully, the right advice is called for from a professional barrister who has a deep understanding and experience with contractual & construction law disagreements.

This will save you time and money in the long run.

Rather than following the long winded and standard process of going through a solicitor to be referred on to a barrister, you can now contact some barristers direct yourself.

By doing this you will have the support that you need almost immediately. Avoiding unnecessary delays, you will also stay clear of the extra cost that is incurred when being referred by a solicitor.

Solutions to late & non payments to Subcontractors

Wouldn’t life be much easier if you did the work, put in your invoice and then received your money in full and on time!

However, the truth is as a Subcontractor you will see that your work is not being valued correctly by the Quantity Surveyor and that certain people are failing to pay you.

There are positive steps that you can take to make it more likely that you’ll be paid the right amount on time.

What late payment means to the Subcontractor

It is vital for you as a Subcontractor to ensure that you get paid on time. It is certainly your right and it means a number of direct benefits to you:

  • Cash-flow improves
  • Lowers your overdraft requirements
  • Prompt payment to your own suppliers = better discounts

Not only this, but as a Subcontractor better cash flow can mean the distinction between insolvency and prosperity!

Question: Can Subcontractors suspend work?

Non payment of bills by the contractor t the sub-contractorSuspending performance of your work is a highly effective motivator which can encourage the Contractor to put you at the head of the list of who gets paid first. If done correctly, holding back your work can be your best option to avoid delayed payments.

Remember that the contractors often have their backs against the wall with deadlines looming.

When cash flow on a construction project is tight, often it is the sub-contractor who is threatening to suspend work and pull off the job that is the one to get paid!

In doing this you need to be cautious, and we always advise that you take our legal advice before suspending your work.

Other Payment problems

Right now you could be faced with any number of other issues relating to non payment, such as Set Off and Contra Charges plus Pay When Paid clauses.

There are actions you can take to resolve the situation if the Contractor is making a set off from your account or is subtracting contra charges.

Primarily you should react and take action fast, since the scenario is not going to be getting better of its own accord.

Get the right legal assistance faster

My best tip to you is that you respond to this situation now. As an experienced barrister I will be mindful of your problems and the urgency that you would like to apply to this case. I will certainly study the details of your case, the arguments and any written contract. I will then make the very best recommendations on exactly how you ought to proceed towards obtaining the payments that you are due.

This way you will have the help that you require virtually immediately.

Further resources:

A full guide covering different resoultion methods that relate to this can be found here: Building & Construction & Engineering Disputes Guide
You can find more general information on Construction law on the Wikipedia Construction Law page
Construction and Building Disputes Barrister, Mediator and Arbitrator

How To Contact Me

If you are facing a dispute and would like professional advice you can call me on 01962 690061 or use the contact form below. I am a highly experienced barrister and I will give you the guidance that you need straight away

Contact Information

We wholeheartedly welcome you to contact us regarding any legally related issues or concerns. We're easy to talk with and will very quickly steer you in the right direction.

Stewart Patterson
Barrister, Mediator & Arbitrator

Pump Court Chambers,
31 Southgate Street,
SO23 9EB
Tel: 01962 690061
Fax: 0845 259 3240
DX: 2514 Winchester