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Subcontractors - Lodging a Complaint

How to Lodge a Complaint with Housing

In the first instance, subcontractors on projects managed by Housing should speak to the head contractor on the project to seek resolution. If no resolution has been reached, you may lodge your complaint with Housing online.

What will Housing do?

When Housing receives your complaint through the feedback form, we will contact the head contractor and advise them of your complaint. The head contractor will then be required to provide Housing with a statutory declaration confirming that all subcontractors have been paid in full all fees due for work that has been satisfactorily completed. Housing may withhold payments to the head contractor until the statutory declaration has been received. Where Housing receives a statutory declaration that it reasonably believes may have been falsely made, the matter will be referred to the Western Australian Police for investigation.

If there is a dispute between a head contractor and subcontractor about whether the amounts claimed by a subcontractor are actually due (eg. a dispute over whether the works were completed, the quality of work, or other works-related issues) Housing will refer you to the Building Commission for further advice. Housing cannot force the head contractor to pay you and will usually not make direct payments to a subcontractor where the head contractor has failed to do so. You should therefore still consider your own appropriate recovery actions.

Note: This information is general in nature and does not take into account specific events or circumstances. This information is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice.

What Housing can't do

It is important to be aware that Housing cannot intervene in contractual or monetary disputes between a head contractor and a subcontractor. Although a subcontractor may be working on a Government project, there is no direct contractual relationship with the Government and the contract remains between the head contractor and subcontractor. In the event that Housing’s enquiries do reveal evidence of a contractual dispute, Housing will inform you of this. In these instances, it is best to seek independent legal advice or contact the Building Commission of WA, or the Small Business Development Corporation, who may be able to provide resolution assistance.

Subcontractor responsibilities

It is the responsibility of subcontractors on construction projects to fully understand their rights and obligations concerning contracts, credit management, debt recovery and dispute resolution before entering into any subcontracting arrangements. The information outlined on this page is not legal advice. Subcontractors are encouraged to obtain independent legal advice of their rights and obligations. If the head contractor falls into financial difficulty, they may go into receivership, administration or liquidation, and subcontractors may not receive payment.