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

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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When Is The Main Building Contract Incorporated By Reference Into The Subcontract?

Most standard form building contracts provide for the incorporation of the main contract into the subcontract.  For instance, GC 3.7.1 of the CCDC 2 Stipulated Price Contract requires the contractor to incorporate the terms of that contract into all agreements with subcontractors and suppliers.  But what effect does an Incorporation by Reference clause in the […]

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When Is A Building Contract A Joint Venture?

A difficult issue that may arise between contractors and subcontractors is the nature of their contractual relationship.  Are they:  independent contractors; or partners; or joint venturers; or employees one of the other?   In WCI Waste Conversion Inc. v. ADI International Inc, The Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal recently considered whether a contractor and subcontractor […]

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When and How is a Subcontractor Bound by its Tender in a Bid Depository System?

The process by which subcontractors’ tenders are accepted in a bid depository is fundamental to the efficacy of that system.  If that process does not effectively bind the subcontractors, then the subcontractors will be able to unilaterally withdraw their bids later.  The British Columbia Supreme Court addressed this issue in its recent decision in Civil […]

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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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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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