Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Claims By Equipment Supplier And Consultants Fall Within All Risk Insurance Umbrella

Claims By Equipment Supplier And Consultants Fall Within All Risk Insurance Umbrella The owner and general contractor on a building project typically provide an “insurance umbrella” for the project. That umbrella will usually be referred to in the insurance clause in their building contract. That clause will provide that the owner or contractor will take […]

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Evaluation Breached Tender Conditions: Alberta Queen’s Bench Court

You would think that the owner would get one thing right before issuing an invitation for tenders: its standard for evaluating the tenders. Yet, in Elan Construction Limited v South Fish Creek Recreational Association, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently found that the owner’s tender evaluation criteria were unfair and did not reflect the […]

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Penalty Clauses: Seven Principles Stated By The U.K. Supreme Court

The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Cavendish Square Holding BV v Talal El Makdessi is a must-read for anyone involved in contract law. In this decision of some 132 pages and 316 paragraphs, the U.K. Supreme Court provides an exhaustive analysis of the history and policy behind one of […]

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Are “Services” Lienable If They Relate To Something That Is Not An “Improvement”?

Whether something put on land is an “improvement” for the purposes of construction and builders’ liens can be a difficult question of fact and law. Usually the dispute revolves around the degree of attachment of the “thing” to the land and the permanence of the attachment. Then, add to that dispute the fact that “services” […]

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Interpretation Saves Contract From Penalty Doctrine

Contract law contains a fundamental rule: penalty clauses are prohibited and liquidated damage clauses are permitted. But in its recent decision in Ottawa Community Housing Corp. V. Foustanellas, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that there is another way to look at this rule. The clause is valid if, properly interpreted, the clause delays, but […]

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Damage To The Rebar And The Deflection Of Floor Slabs Are Covered Under Builders’ Risk Policy: B.C. Court Of Appeal

The extent of coverage under Builders’ Risk policies is a matter of continuing debate in Canada. Insurers try to draft policies which do not cover the poor workmanship of contractors, and contractors continue to insist that they have bought and paid for insurance which covers damage to the work in progress. And so the debate […]

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Can A Change To A Construction Contract Be Set Aside For Duress Or Coercion?

Building projects often give rise to heated discussions. When a change order is made in that sort of situation, can one party later say that the change order was made under duress or coercion? The Newfoundland Court of Appeal said Yes in the recent decision in Hickey’s Building Supplies Ltd. v. Sheppard. Background Facts This […]

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Can General Damages Be Awarded For The Breach Of A Building Contract?

Generally speaking, damages for a non-financial loss are not awarded for the breach of a business contract. That is because those sorts of damages are not foreseeable. The breach of a business contract may give rise to anxiety and distress, but that result is usually thought of as part of the vicissitudes and rough and […]

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Quebec Court of Appeal Awards Impact Damages

When a breach of a building contract occurs, the damages can be extensive because the breach can have an impact on the performance of other parts of the contract. For this reason, a unique aspect of construction disputes is the potential award of what are called “impact” costs or damages. In the recent decision of […]

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