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ACT SOPA Changes will Commence on 11 March 2024


Members may be aware the ACT Building and Construction Industry (Security of Payment) Act 2009 ((SOPA) was amended by the Building and Construction Legislation Amendment Act 2023 (the Amendments) that was passed on 12 December 2023. These amendments will commence on 11 March 2024. The two main amendments are the removal of “reference date” and the payment terms has been improved to facilitate faster payment.

Removal of reference date 

The previous SOPA provision requires that a claimant must make a claim on or after each reference and can only make one claim under the SOPA for each reference date. The reference date was either the date stated in the contract for making claims or, if there is no date, the last day of each month. The use of “reference date” has been criticised within the industry and has complicated the procedural aspects of making an adjudication application.

The Amendments remove the “reference date” in the SOPA. Instead, a claimant may lodge a monthly claim on the last day of each calendar month, or an earlier day in the calendar month as provided in the contract. This change is welcomed by the industry. It mirrors the NSW legislation and simplifies the procedure of making an adjudication application.

Payment term

In the previous SOPA, the default due date for the payment was 10 business days after a payment claim was made where no due date is specified in the contract. If the contract stipulates a payment term of 90 days, the claimant has to wait for 90 days for the payment or a payment schedule from the respondent. This can be detrimental to members’ finances, especially for businesses that depend on cash flow.

The new SOPA now provides that the due date for payment is the earlier of the following:

  • 15 business days after a payment claim is given by a claimant; or
  • the day when the payment becomes payable under the construction contract.

This change will facilitate faster payment and standardise the time to make an application adjudication. Where a contract stipulates a lengthy payment term, the claimant is no longer required to comply with that lengthy payment term. Instead, the payment term of 15 business days will apply.

Do you need assistance with a SOPA claim or did you receive a payment schedule that you don’t agree with, contact our Workplace Relations and Legal Team on 02 6175 5900.