By: Luka Dickson

Scott Schedules are a document involved within construction disputes. The document is organised by one of the parties involved within the dispute to compare the variety of alternate opinions regarding the cost of a claim. This document will then be presented to a judge during the court case to help them assess the most appropriate outcome for the claim. It is commonly presented in conjunction with an expert witness report, however not every expert witness report will require a Scott schedule.


What is a Scott schedule?

The schedule is laid out in a table format, and it separates each individual element within the claim. These individual elements usually include defective or incomplete work or works completed to a poor standard, leading to a construction dispute.

It is usually a summarising document no larger than an A4 sheet and helps the members involved within the dispute focus on relevant aspects. Usually, this document will be provided by an instructing solicitor or one of the parties involved. When hiring an expert witness for the construction claim, they will provide their opinion on each of the issues listed within the Scott Schedule.


The Scott Schedule Template

The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), has a template of what information should be included within a Scott Schedule. The key is described as follows:

ITEM No.

Contract
“Outline what should have been done to comply with the contract either under specifications of original work and variation or to complete in a competent and workmanlike manner (if the quality is not specified).”

Applicant’s Comments
“Set out defect alleged”

Applicant’s Estimate of Loss
“Cost of rectification of the defect or diminution of value because of the defect.”

Respondent’s Comments
“Comments should admit, deny, or not admit, or raise a point of law.”

Respondent’s Estimate of Loss
“This should be completed even though the liability is denied.”

Tribunal Member’s Comments
For use of the Tribunal Member


Expert Witnesses Section

The first 4 columns will be filled out by the applicant’s expert witness with reference to Australian Building standards such as the Home Building Act. The expert witness will introduce their opinion in the applicant’s comment section (column 3) and suggest what they believe is the appropriate payment (if any) in the estimate of loss section (column 4). This section can include the cost of labour and materials. This is just a short summary per item, more detail over specifications of defects and responsibility will be further expanded in the full witness report. The contract section (column 2.) describes what action could have been taken to comply with the original contract to a satisfactory standard – ‘workmanlike manner.’


Respondents Section:

The respondent will take note of the expert witnesses’ opinion and how much the cost of remedy is suggested to be. They can reject the opinion and suggest a lower cost if they can justify the lack of extra expenses. For example, if they believe the work can be achieved 25% faster than the Expert Witness suggests, then they can comment with an alternate estimate that reduces labour costs by 25%.


Tribunal Section:

The final column is to include any comments organised by the tribunal itself, this section will usually detail who has been found to be the responsible party for each item within the court claim and how any remedying of defective work should occur.

A Scott schedule is not a suitable replacement for an expert witness report and is a supplementary summary document. A full expert witness report can provide far more thorough detail and address how the witness came to their conclusion. Meanwhile, a Scott schedule is useful during court claims as it can help the parties assess where the key disagreements are, where they are on the same page, and where the costs of litigation are more expensive than the disagreements in position. It also gives the court a convenient point of reference within the tribunal.


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