JCT: DB16- Is the Employer required to inform the contractor that the application for payment is not valid

If the contractor submits an application for payment, which is undoubtedly not valid, due to lack information or incorrect method of delivery, is the Employer required to inform the contractor that no payment will be forthcoming as the application has not been submitted as per the contract?

Also, if the contractor continues to make an application using the previously claimed value instead of the paid to date value, does this render the application invalid?

The only response required by the Employer to an application for payment is either to pay the amount applied for in full or issue a payment or payless notice and pay the amount stated in that (4.7 to 4.10)

The only requirement of an application for payment is that it states the sum applied for and the basis of how that sum is calculated (4.7.3). The method of delivery is either the method the parties have agreed (1.7.2) or any effective means (1.7.3).

There is little room for an application to be ‘invalid’, as, for example, as long as the application states the sum due and some sort of explanation, then it would be a valid application and the payment process would commence. Whilst the Employer could ask the Contractor to include more information in subsequent applications or ask for more information in the current application, that does not slow down or stop the payment process. The risk to the Contractor of course would be the Employer could not pay anything other than nil for the items in the application on the basis there is little or no substantiation.

Another consideration is that parties could agree under 1.7.2 that all communications are sent by post and the Contractor instead sends the application by email. The question posed though is whether the Employer can reject an application. That must be predicated on the fact that the Employer has received the application, albeit by email instead of post. In those circumstances, it would be a brave Employer who would stand in front of a judge and say whilst they received the application by email, they did not receive it by post and therefore did nothing,