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

Does The Removal Of Equipment Amount To An Improvement For Lien Purposes?

Update:  The decision of the BC Supreme Court in West Fraser Mills Ltd. v. BKB Construction Inc., referred to in this article has since been reversed by the BC Court of Appeal.  Please see my blog of April 7, 2012.  The decision of the BC Supreme Court may still be relevant if and when that […]

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Remember Rainy Sky: The Commercially Sensible Interpretation Prevails

Every once in a while, an important decision comes along which should be put in your hip pocket so that it can be pulled out when needed.  Rainy Sky S.A. v. Kookmin Bank is such a decision.  In this decision, the U.K. Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) recently held that if there is […]

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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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Restitutionary Payment May Be Ordered For An “Ineffective” Construction Contract

Owners and contractors should always avoid undertaking a project without a contract.  But if they do build the project without a contract, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has recently recognized in Infinity Steel Inc. v. B & C Steel Erectors Inc. that the party which received the benefit of the work or supplies must […]

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A Contractor’s Construction Errors May Be Covered By A General Liability Policy

In two recent decisions, courts in Ontario and British Columbia have held that negligence during construction (or manufacturing) may be covered by general liability policies even though the damage is part of the construction (or the product sold): California Kitchens & Bath Ltd. v. AXA Canada Inc. and Bulldog Bag Ltd. v. AXA Pacific Insurance […]

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When Does The Negotiation End And The Limitation Period Begin For An Arbitration Claim?

Construction Law – Arbitration – Negotiations – Limitation Periods – Contract An arbitration clause in a construction contract may be written in a way that encourages the parties to settle their differences by negotiation and agreement. But if the parties attempt to do so and fail, can one of the parties then say to the […]

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The Duty To Defend: What Are The Indemnity Obligations In Construction Contracts?

Construction Law –  Insurance – Duty to Defend A recent Ontario decision regarding the duty to defend against claims may have wide reaching implications for construction law even though the action did not involve a building contract.  In Cadillac Fairview v. Jamesway Construction, 2011, the Ontario Superior Court recently held that an indemnity obligation in […]

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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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What Is The Role Of Owners and Contractors In The Application Of Trust Funds?

Construction Law – Construction Liens – Trust Fund Provisions The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently considered some interesting issues relating to the trust fund provisions of the Construction Lien Act of Ontario.  In Colautti Construction Ltd. v. Ashcroft Development Inc, the Court provided some useful guidance about the roles of owners and contractors in […]

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