Ping Gangur – Construction Lawyer and Registered Building Practitioner

Ping Gangur was the recent winner of the 2024 Lawyers Weekly Construction and Infrastructure Partner of the Year Award. Her unconventional career has led to her unique approach to advising contractors and subcontractors.

Promoted by Level Playing Field 09 July 2024 Profiles
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How did you start down this career path?

My family started developing residential townhouse projects when I was in high school.

In my early twenties, my twin sister and I decided that we wanted to run the building projects.

Despite our failures at assembling Ikea furniture and much before the #MoveOverBob movement, we decided women could be builders too!

We went online and found the smallest pair of construction boots ever made and at 24, I was a registered domestic builder.

Then we started working on structural steel projects. Naturally, I got my C2 crane license, basic rigging and basic dogging ticket and we started running commercial steel projects.

The commercial contracts were much more complicated than residential projects.

We negotiated and administered the contracts clumsily, under the financial pressure of managing a high value scope of works we did not fully understand.

I discovered the Security of Payments legislation and this piece of remedial legislation gave me so much hope. It was a legal avenue that provided a resolution that we would not have otherwise achieved.

Bolstered by my early success with adjudication applications, I began assisting other subcontractors on the construction sites. It became apparent that they also did not understand the legal implications of their scope of works or the contracts that they were signing. This was leading to poor project outcomes and an adversarial approach when problems arose.

I began to realise that this was my place in life – educating and advocating for subcontractors to help them build sustainable businesses. Having spent numerous years being the head contractor, the subcontractor and a lawyer, I knew that I was the voice that could bridge the gap between the parties. So my partner and I started the firm Level Playing Field Lawyers.

What's your approach to customer service that separates you from the rest?

Level Playing Field has built a specialised team of construction lawyers and building consultants who can communicate complex concepts simply, concisely and in a way that resonates with our clients needs, showcasing our deep understanding of these two technical worlds.

Our approach to assisting our clients requires them to change the way that they approach contracting, contract administration and dispute resolution. This is why we continuously strive to find a better way to communicate, a better legal strategy, or better technology and internal processes to increase our efficiency (and that of our clients).

For example, since 2023 our clients have started using our project management system that generates automated reminders and automated notices to comply with their contractual obligations in relation to variations, delays and defects.

This not only streamlines their contract administration processes but also significantly reduces their legal risk. Beyond mere legal advice, these tools are designed to educate clients about the nuances of construction law. By understanding their contracts better, clients can proactively address and communicate potential issues to their clients, resulting in project success.

How do you innovate and stay ahead of industry trends?

Level Playing Field engages with the construction industry and have strong partnerships with the Crane Industry Council of Australia, the Civil Contractors Federation, Master Plumbers and the Structural Steel Fabricators Association. By being part of working groups and attending industry events, we always have our finger on the pulse.

I am also part of a club of entrepreneurs where business owners from diverse industries meet to discuss issues they have faced in their business and how they have overcome them. Operating a sustainable business requires an awareness of strategies that other business owners have used to drive operational efficiency and the relative success of different techniques.

What are some of your goals for the next 5 years?

For Level Playing Field to be and be recognised nationally by contractors and subcontractors as a leading legal and consulting firm that they can partner with to build sustainable businesses.

To be a thought leader regarding the real drivers behind systemic issues in the construction industry including insolvency, non-payment, defective building and the availability of insurance.

For it to be the norm that subcontractors contract with intention and understand the implications of their scope and contractual terms.

To further grow and develop a team of lawyers and consultants who are passionate about the success of our clients and the construction industry as a whole.

Clayton Utz, established in 1833, is Australia’s largest full-service commercial law firm. Its headquarters in Sydney...

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