The importance of a Domestic Works Contract!

In these uncertain economic times, ensuring timely payment is front of mind for many of our members. In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in enquiries regarding this area with members feeling more anxious than usual about ensuring payment for services provided.

The short and simple answer is a written contract with appropriate terms and conditions is your best ‘insurance’ to ensure payment.

Too often, our industry can fall into the trap of verbal, handshake, text message and email agreements which leaves our members exposed in the case of a dispute once work is finalised. This is particularly common when variations or changes are negotiated throughout the process.

The MLSA Domestic Landscape Works Contract 2019 has been designed with our members in mind to provide you with the peace of mind of knowing you have a solid agreement in place with your customers and clients.

What can I do to ensure I get paid?

Securing cash flow and getting paid is fundamental to business, especially so in financially challenging times. Some top tips for prompt payment are:

  1. Ensuring you have a written contract.
  2. Seek appropriate deposits where possible.
  3. Ensure that your customer has a clear understanding in relation to your strict expectations and requirements in relation to progress payments – this should be done in both the written contract, and the message repeated whenever appropriate in invoices and emails.
  4. Do not start any work until the customer has signed and returned the contract and the deposit monies have cleared in your account.
  5. Do quality work and keep photographic records. The quickest way to not getting paid is to deliver bad quality work!

The MLSA Domestic Landscape Works Contract 2019 edition is a contract that has been created by FBR Law and allows you to choose the number of progress payments and when progress payments are to be made. 

How can I protect myself against Coronavirus (COVID-19) and associated delays?

A contractor’s rights and obligations depend on the terms of the contract.

The MLSA Contract already has appropriate clauses to deal with the consequences of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and associated delays.

If you are using the MLSA Contract:

  • Clause 11.1.10 of the contract provides “the Contractor shall be entitled to a reasonable extension of time to complete the Works if there is any delay in the Work as a result of any cause, thing or other contingency not reasonably foreseeable by the Contractor or beyond the control of the Contractor”.  We think it is very clear that delays caused by coronavirus are delays beyond your control.
  • Clause 11.2 of the contract provides that you should notify the owner of the likely delay.  No particular form of notice is required. A simple email keeping the owner updated as to state of progress and likely delay is sufficient.
  • Clause 11.2 of the contract further protects the contractor.  If you forget or fail to give the owner notice of delay, you will still be able to get a reasonable extension of time.

If you are currently negotiating contracts you are best to:

  • not commit to any specific time-frames – do not complete item 17 to the Contract Schedule – rather you can limit your timing obligations by promising to do the work as quickly as you reasonably can; and
  • ensure that you price the work appropriately to consider COVID-19 associated risks.

A copy of the MLSA Domestic Landscape Works Contract 2019 is available to all members for purchase at the heavily reduced rate of $275.00. Once payment has been received your logo will be inserted into the contract and emailed directly to you.

To purchase a copy or to find out more please contact:

Hannah Davis
Phone: 0428 789 431 

If you have any questions about the contract or how to complete the contract variables, you can call FBR Law on 8272 3644.

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