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

An Owner Owes No Duty Of Care To A Subcontractor In A Bid Depository System

The Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal has recently held that an owner does not owe a duty of care to a subcontractor arising from the normal operation of a bid depository system: Defence Construction (1951) Limited v. Air-Tite Sheet Metal Limited. The Background: The owner, Defence Construction, a wholly owned subsidiary of the government […]

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When The Contractor Plays Hard-Ball What Does A Sub-Contractor Do; Peter Kiewit Redux?

An age-old problem arising from a tender on a construction project is:   what does a sub-contractor do when it is the successful bidder but believes that the work is different than shown in the tender documents and the contractor says:  Those are the conditions: Take ‘em or leave ‘em.   But if you back out of […]

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Should A Court Or An Arbitral Tribunal Resolve Domain Name Disputes?

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has just released its decision in Tucows.Com Co. v. Lojas Renner S.A.  This decision is a legal landmark in relation to Internet domain names. The Court held that domain names are personal property and may be the subject matter of an action which may be served on a defendant […]

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How Does A Court Find And Interpret An Oral Construction Contract

Construction Contract  –  Interpretation – Oral Contract A contract in the construction industry is usually in written form.  Often the contract will follow the CCDC form of contract.  But what principles should apply to the interpretation of oral contracts?  The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently addressed this issue in Copcan Contacting Ltd v. Ashlaur […]

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Pay-When-Paid: When Is The Contractor Not Obliged To Pay The Subcontractor?

Construction Law  –  Building Contract  –  “Pay When Paid” The Ontario Superior court recently wrestled with the issue of how to interpret and apply a “Pay When Paid” clause in a subcontract.   In 1473662 Ontario Limited v. Avgroup Consulting Services Limited, the Court appears to apply the traditional approach to this clause, but opened a door […]

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Is A Subcontractor Bound By The Arbitration Clause in the Main Contract?

In a judgment delivered on May 6, 2011, Chief Justice Joseph P. Kennedy of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court dealt with a contentious issue relating to arbitration clauses in construction contracts.  Is an arbitration clause in the main contract between the owner and the contractor incorporated into a subcontract between the contractor and subcontractor?  If […]

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Tenders in Construction Projects – Which Limitation Period Applies?

What is the limitation period for the commencement of an action arising from a tender in a construction project? If the owner is a municipality or other public body, does a limitation period in its incorporating legislation apply to the tender?  These were the questions recently faced by the Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal […]

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Can A Construction Lien Be Based On A Pre-Incorporation Contract?

Construction Lien Claims  –  Pre-Incorporation Contracts What happens when a pre-incorporation construction contract is made in the name of a company which does not do the work, and then the construction lien is filed in the name of the company that was later incorporated and did the work?  That was the situation faced by the […]

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Construction Liens: Two Thorny Issues: Can non-lienable work be sheltered? Can off-site work be liened?

In John Barlot Architect Ltd. v. 413481 Alberta Ltd, the Alberta Court of Appeal has recently dealt with two thorny issues relating to a consultant’s services and construction liens: Can a lien shelter non-lienable work?  And can a consultant’s services provided to one project be liened on a second project if they were also used […]

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