The building and construction industry must anticipate and ready itself for COVID-19’s effects: supply chain disruptions, insolvency and defaults, labour and material shortages, price escalations, and not to mention delays and disruptions to projects. Everyone in the building and construction industry must know how to effectively manage the contractual impacts of COVID-19 to navigate a path for the future.

We are delighted to announce 3rd annual Thomson Reuters Building & Construction Law Conference to be held on 1 December 2020. The conference will focus managing impacts of COVID-19 including construction contracts and Force Majeure, insolvency and sub-contractors, construction disputes and emerging issues in employment during and post COVID-19. This day-long event will be a must-attend for in-house counsel, construction professionals and building and construction lawyers.

We look forward to meeting you at the event.

For any event enquiries, please email

Dates & locations

1 December 2020
Swissotel Sydney 

Also available via Livestream

Your investment

Early bird price
$650 + GST
(Early bird closes 20 October 2020)

Full price
$750 + GST

Register Now




Welcome from conference chair

Simon Croft, Executive Director - Building Policy, Housing Industry Association Ltd



Tsunami of insolvency in 2021

The government undertook massive fiscal outlays and implemented extraordinary law to forestall business insolvency. This seminar takes a critical look at the legal tools that business has to deal with corporate insolvency including safe harbour restructuring, voluntary administration and the small business restructuring process.

  • What are the implications of the amendments?
  • What has been the impact of the temporary reforms?

Ben Sewell, Principal, Sewell & Kettle


Networking and refreshment break



A Never Again... what Covid-19 taught us about force majeure, frustration and construction contracts 

Most Australian Standard Construction Contracts do not contain a Force Majeure definition or clause, instead leaving such unforeseeable events to the other mechanisms of the contract, such as the EOT regime etc.  During the Covid-19 Principals and Contractors had cause to look to their contracts to navigate the unexpected issues that arose, and found they were left wanting.  This Presentation steps through what FM is and where it is used, contrasts that with Frustration and then puts that in the context of popular construction contracts.  The purpose of this overview is to identify how these contracts and principles let us down, and what we can do to futureproof our contracts against recurrence.

Scott Alden, Partner, Holding Redlich



Design & Construction of NSW Apartment Buildings: Major Changes & the Implications

This session to cover:

  • The Residential Apartment Buildings (Compliance and Enforcement Powers) Act 2020
  • Changes to the way the NSW Government will regulate the design and construction of new apartment buildings and the practical implications
  • What the changes mean for builders, developers, architects & others responsible for the design and construction of Class 2 buildings under the Building Code of Australia

Michael Morrissey, Managing Director, Morrissey Law + Advisory


Understanding the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020

Statutory duty of care provisions coming are into force immediately and retrospectively, with additional provisions set to commence later.

  • What does it mean for persons performing 'construction work'
  • What are the obligations of design and building practitioners under the Act?
  • What is a 'regulated design' and what buildings does it apply to?
  • What are the new registration and licensing requirements for practitioners?
  • What is adequate insurance?
  • Penalty and enforcement provisions

Helen Kowal, Partner, Swaab




Panel discussion: Strengthening compliance & enforcement in the building industry

  • What do we need to achieve a nationally consistent approach to regulatory reform?
  • Understanding reforms that are required to ensure safety of residential building
  • What actions are being put in place to ensure safe, compliant infrastructure?

Bronwyn Weir, Lawyer & Managing Director, Weir Legal & Consulting
David Bannerman, Principal Lawyer, Bannermans Lawyers
Wayne Liddy, Vice President, Australian Institute Of Building Surveyors  



SOPA: Impugning an adjudication determination on the basis of jurisdictional error of law

This session will address jurisdictional error of law on the face of the record which will permit an attack on an adjudication determination in circumstances including:

  • Where there is an error of reasoning on the part of the adjudicator – including NSW Court of Appeal in Cockram Construction Ltd v Fulton Hogan Construction Pty Ltd (2018) 97 NSWLR 773; [2018] NSWCA 107;
  • Where the respondent does not submit any evidence cavilling with the valuation of the claim – including Iskra v MMIR Pty Ltd [2019] NSWCA 126; and
  • Denial of natural justice – including Fulton Hogan Construction Pty Ltd v QH & M Birt Pty Ltd [2019] QSC 23; Parliament Square Hobart Landowner Pty Ltd v Tonkin  [2020] TASSC 30.

Sydney Jacobs, Barrister, 13 Wentworth Selborne Chambers


Networking and refreshment break



Resolving building and construction disputes: why negotiation is the imperative

Misunderstandings, discrepancies and different interpretations can create disputes between builders, owners, contractors, and subcontractors at any stage of the construction project.  Now using negotiation strategies to resolve disputes in this post Covid-19 environment is an imperative instead of going directly to litigation to resolve disputes. As the negotiator how do you achieve the best terms for the party that you represent? How do you preserve the parties’ relationship? How to stop the problem from escalating? How to solve disputes efficiently and create fair outcomes?

Kim Lovegrove, Lovegrove & Cotton, Construction & Planning Lawyers



COVID-19 and employment issues  

This session will cover important employment issues which have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic including:

  • general employer obligations, including safety considerations for working on-site and employees working remotely
  • the JobKeeper scheme, temporary flexibility changes to the Fair Work Act, and other pandemic measures
  • options for dealing with slowdowns and reductions in a JobKeeper context, including directions to employees to reduce and change hours
  • options available outside of the JobKeeper framework, including encouraging/directing leave and non-JobKeeper stand downs

Brett Feltham, Partner, Gadens