Things to consider when creating a sub-contract agreement in Australia?


Published: December 29, 2023

A sub-contract agreement is a legal document that sets out the terms and conditions between a contractor and a sub-contractor for the provision of services. A sub-contractor is a self-employed individual or company that works on a part of a contract between a primary contractor and a client. For example, a builder may hire an electrician as a sub-contractor to install the wiring for a construction project.

Sub-contract agreements are common in many industries, such as construction, IT, consulting, and creative services. They can offer benefits to both parties, such as flexibility, access to specialised skills, and reduced costs. However, they also involve risks and responsibilities that need to be clearly defined and understood before entering into an agreement.


Here are some of the key points to consider when creating a sub-contract agreement in Australia:

  • Scope of work: This is the most important part of the agreement, as it describes what services the sub-contractor will provide, how they will provide them, and when they will deliver them. The scope of work should be detailed and specific, to avoid ambiguity and disputes. It should also include any deliverables, milestones, quality standards, and reporting requirements.
  • Fees and payment: This part of the agreement specifies how much the sub-contractor will charge for their services, how they will invoice the contractor, and when and how they will be paid. The fees should be based on the value of the work and the market rates for similar services. The payment terms should be fair and reasonable, and include any deposits, retainers, or progress payments. The agreement should also state who is responsible for any expenses, taxes, or GST related to the services.
  • Indemnification: This is a clause that protects the contractor from any liability or loss arising from the sub-contractor's actions or omissions. The sub-contractor agrees to indemnify the contractor for any claims, damages, costs, or expenses that may result from their negligence, breach of contract, or violation of any laws or regulations. The indemnification clause should also cover any intellectual property rights or confidentiality issues that may arise from the services.
  • Obligations of sub-contractor: This part of the agreement outlines the duties and responsibilities of the sub-contractor towards the contractor and the client. The sub-contractor agrees to perform the services with due care, skill, and professionalism, and to comply with any applicable laws, codes, or standards. The sub-contractor also agrees to follow any instructions or directions from the contractor or the client, and to cooperate with them in good faith. The sub-contractor should also disclose any conflicts of interest or potential risks that may affect their performance or reputation.
  • Service ordering: This is a process that allows the contractor to request additional or different services from the sub-contractor during the term of the agreement. The service ordering process should specify how the contractor can make such requests, how the sub-contractor can accept or reject them, and how they will affect the scope of work, fees, and payment terms. The service ordering process should be flexible and efficient, but also clear and transparent.
  • Termination: This part of the agreement defines how either party can end the relationship before the completion of the services. The termination clause should state under what circumstances either party can terminate the agreement, such as breach of contract, non-performance, insolvency, or mutual consent. The termination clause should also state what consequences will follow from termination, such as payment of outstanding fees, return of property or information, or release from liability.
  • Warranties and disclaimers: These are statements that guarantee or limit certain aspects of the services or the agreement. The sub-contractor may provide warranties to assure the contractor of their qualifications, experience, quality of work, or compliance with laws. The sub-contractor may also provide disclaimers to limit their liability for certain outcomes or events that are beyond their control or responsibility. The warranties and disclaimers should be reasonable and realistic, and not contradict any other terms of the agreement.
  • Maintenance and support: This part of the agreement covers any ongoing services that the sub-contractor may provide after the delivery of the main services. These may include maintenance, repairs, updates, training, or technical support. The maintenance and support clause should specify what services are included or excluded, how they will be provided and charged for, and how long they will last.
  • Dispute resolution: This part of the agreement sets out how any conflicts or disagreements between the parties will be resolved. The dispute resolution clause should encourage communication and negotiation as the first steps to resolve any issues. It should also provide alternative methods for resolving disputes if communication fails, such as mediation, arbitration, or litigation. The dispute resolution clause should state which method will be used, how it will be conducted, and who will bear the costs.


Creating a sub-contract agreement in Australia can be a complex and challenging task, but it is also an essential one. A well-written and well-negotiated sub-contract agreement can protect the interests and rights of both parties, and ensure a smooth and successful collaboration. It is advisable to seek legal advice or use a professional template when drafting a sub-contract agreement, to avoid any mistakes or misunderstandings that may lead to disputes or losses..

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