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Energy Australia v Downer Construction Australia - Doyles Arbitration Lawyers

ENERGY AUSTRALIA V DOWNER CONSTRUCTION (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD &

Supreme Court of New South Wales – 15 February 2006

FACTS

EnergyAustralia (“EA”) and Downer Construction (Australia) Pty Ltd (“Downer”) entered into a design and construction contract for a 132kV cable tunnel from a point in the south-western part of the city of Sydney to Surry Hills. Downer served a Payment Claim on EA under section 13 of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW). The Payment Claim included claim for delay, disruption and other costs incurred in relation to water ingress as a consequence of certain ground conditions which Downer alleged to be latent conditions within the meaning of the deed. Energy responded  to the payment claim, lodging a Payment Schedule under section 14 of the Act that disputed that any amount was payable on the ground that the conditions described in the payment claim did not constitute latent conditions under the contract.

Downer served an adjudication application on Energy under section 17 of the Act, to which Energy served an adjudication response under s 20 of the Act. The Adjudicator delivered the determination and found that Downer was entitled to be paid.

Energy sought a declaration that the purported adjudication application was not an adjudication application within s 17 and is null and void. Its reasons for this were that it was of the opinion that the adjudication application was for a claim substantially different from the payment claim and was therefore not in accordance with the statute and therefore invalid. It alternatively claimed that the adjudication determination was not an adjudication determination within the meaning of s22 of the  Act and was null and void. It was Energy’s submission that the adjudication application differed from the payment claim in that the adjudication application stated the payment claim was different to that claimed in the payment claim, and the submissions  that accompanied the adjudication application specified different particulars.

ISSUES

Was the adjudication application and adjudication application within section 17 of the Act?

Was the adjudication determination and adjudication determination within the meaning of section 22 of the Act?

FINDING

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