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

Contractor Liable To Flooring Subcontractor For Failure To Provide Proper Sub-Floor

An owner is obliged to provide the contractor with proper access to the site for the performance of the work. That principle of construction law is well known. What is less well appreciated is that the contractor has the same or similar obligation to the subcontractor. And this obligation has an important ingredient to it: […]

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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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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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Is A Pay When Paid Clause Applicable If The Contractor’s Account To The Owner Is Reduced For Reasons Unconnected With Subcontractor’s Work?

A pay when paid clause is one of the most contentious clauses in a building contract. Indeed, the clause is outlawed in most circumstances in the United Kingdom and some states of the United States. In Canada, there is conflicting case law about the application and interpretation of the clause. In Wallwin Electric Services Inc. […]

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Ontario Court Of Appeal Holds That The Doctrine Of Mistake Does Not Apply To A Tender

In Asco Construction Ltd. v. Epoxy Solutions Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that the doctrine of mistake did not apply to an invitation to tender. In doing so, the court provided a useful reminder of the limited circumstances in which the law of mistake can apply to building contracts. Background Asco was […]

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The Traps And Perils Of Limitation Of Liability Clauses

In Swift v. Eleven Eleven Architecture Inc., the Alberta Court of Appeal recently considered the impact and scope of a limitation of liability clause in a consultant’s contract between an owner and the architects on a building project. The court arrived at three important conclusions. First, the clause did not apply to and did not […]

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Can A Payment Bond Impose Double Payments On A Contractor?

Payment bonds come in various shapes and sizes and it is important to read them carefully before concluding what they bond. They may not just bond the payment obligation of the party obtaining the bond. They may also bond the payment obligations of all persons on the project.  If they do the latter, then the […]

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Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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Two Construction Lien Issues: Architect’s Pro-Forma Certificate Is Invalid; GST Must Be Added To Holdback

The Ontario Superior Court recently decided two important issues relating to construction liens. In Wellington Plumbing & Heating Ltd. v. Villa Nicolini Incorporated, the court held that a late-issued pro forma architect’s certificate was invalid, and that GST must be added to a holdback. Factual Background Villa Nicolini constructed a retirement home in Vaughan. The […]

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