The State Administrative Tribunal
The main objectives of the SAT (according to them) in dealing with matters within its jurisdiction are to:
achieve the resolution of questions, complaints or disputes, and make or review decisions fairly and according to the substantial merits of the case act as speedily and with as little formality and technicality as is practicable, and minimise the costs to all parties, and
make appropriate use of the knowledge and experience of SAT members.
However it has become a very formal, costly and timely process taking years in some cases.
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Because of the time it is best to get financial matters addressed like outstanding progress claims which may be the underlying cause of the dispute.
For the builder who has obligations to the trades and their families this is essential. An application to the AIB (costs are capped) for a swift adjudication will result in the payment being made. (assuming it is payable under the contract)
This will take the panic off the case and often leads to a resolution anyway.
Construction Contracts (Former Provisions) Act 2004.
Australians spend $7 billion annually on building disputes and this results in billions of dollars being frozen which otherwise would have flowed into the economy.
The Construction Contracts (Former Provisions) Act 2004 sets out to do just that. It is a stand alone piece of legislation and doesn’t need to be referenced in contracts as it only deals with payments. Dispute resolution mechanisms like the Home Building Contracts Act, Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011, the SAT and the Courts remain in place. The difference being the builder has been paid prior to any disputes being resolved which can take years. Often when the money has been removed from the dispute, an agreement resolving any differences is forthcoming. The purpose of the Act.
Evidence before and during the SAT proceedings
The quality and presentation of expert evidence is important in assisting the Tribunal to make reliable and correct decisions in the many areas of its jurisdiction. Experience shows that, when expert witnesses understand and observe their duty to bring to proceedings an objective assessment of the issues within their expertise, their evidence is of great assistance.
Directions hearings can also be used to clarify any questions that a party or an expert may have about expert evidence and how the procedures relating to expert witnesses operate in practice. A party or an expert witness may request the Tribunal to convene a directions hearing.
Because of these guidelines I will prepare my expert evidence and not just sign and date evidence prepared by a 3rd party.
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