November 14, 2023

Expert construction solicitor Sam Bawden appears on a construction industry podcast for the second time 

Holmes & Hills’ expert construction solicitor Sam Bawden appeared on the construction industry-specific ‘Own The Build’ podcast for the second time in October, after being invited back following his first appearance back in August.

In their second discussion podcast host Paul Heming and Holmes & Hills’ Sam Bawden discussed how contractors and specialist subcontractors can get paid and avoid payment disputes. Sam commented that the idea for this topic came from frequent conversations with the Holmes & Hills Construction Division’s clients who had been misinformed about what they could do to try and enforce payment.

Initial discussion surrounded the state of the market as being ‘volatile’ and concluded that currently, the construction market is a difficult market to be in. Sam commented that this is reflected in the dispute resolution work being undertaken by Holmes & Hills Solicitors’ Construction Division, and this sentiment of a ‘volatile’ market framed the discussion that followed surrounding the difficulties and subsequent tensions of being paid.

Sam started off by talking about the first three stages of trying to enforce payment of a debt. At the beginning, the below three stages need to be evaluated by those involved:

  • What is the value of the debt?
  • Is the debt disputed or not?
  • What stage of the project are we at?

Sam and Paul, then, discussed the three stages in more detail.

Initially, they looked at the value of debts, comparing a £10k debt vs a £1million debt, and commented on the differences that the value of the debt can make as to what steps might be commercially viable when trying to enforce payment, whether this takes the form of a letter from a solicitor to potential adjudication or arbitration.

The conversation then turned to the point of whether the debt was disputed. Sam discussed a winding up petition; he explained to the podcast audience what this is and how it can be utilised when no dispute has crystallised. Sam also looked at a court process that could be involved and discussed the importance of the evaluation that the court must make as to whether there is a genuine and substantial dispute.

Then, together Sam and Paul discussed the timeline of a project and what commercial implications that can have on the decisions made about how and when to try to enforce payment.

Finally, Sam and Paul discussed the tone which is best when having discussions about payment disputes as well as the importance of making sure everyone involved is following the correct processes for example that emails are sent to the right person at the right time.

They, then, went on to discuss how best to protect yourself against payment disputes a topic that Sam talks about with great passion as he believes this sharing of knowledge is the best way to avoid disputes, he can do for his clients in the construction industry.

Listen to the full podcast here: How to get paid (everything your mate down the pub doesn’t know). (EP 143) - C-Link

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