Kuhn LLP: How COVID-19 Impacts Construction Contracts

Introduction The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is significantly impacting the construction industry in British Columbia.  But is it enough to legally justify changing or terminating your contractual obligations? Business is becoming more difficult.  Some provinces have shut down all non-essential businesses.  British Columbia may soon follow.  Even if the construction industry is exempt from being shut…

Kuhn LLP

COUNTING THE DAYS – UNDERSTANDING THE “21 DAY NOTICE” PROCESS UNDER THE BUILDERS LIEN ACT

A builders’ lien can be an effective tool for those in the construction industry, such as contractors, subcontractors, workers, and material suppliers to secure payment. A lien hinders owners from selling their property and can hold up project financing, providing a lien claimant with significant leverage in payment disputes. However, there is a very strict…

A Small Mistake means Big Costs for a Negligent Subcontractor

General contractors take on significant legal exposure when agreeing to build a new home, or even to renovate an existing home. For instance, general contractors may be liable for the negligent work of their employees, or others engaged by them in connection with a construction project. The recent case of Edwards v Parkinson’s Heating Ltd.,…

Under Pressure: Putting the Job Before the Agreement

Homeowners and general contractors often find themselves under various pressures to complete work and advance the project. The rushed approach that often ensues can cause parties to overlook or postpone settling essential terms with subcontractors. The recent case of Limem Forming West Ltd. v. Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd., 2017 BCSC 1485, highlights the dangers…

Getting Paid and Fixing Deficiencies

It can be very frustrating when a homeowner refuses to make the final payment because of seemingly inconsequential “deficiencies”. However, the BC Supreme Court made it clear in Constructum Developments Inc. v. Hogaboam, 2015 BCSC 1490, that a homeowner may be entitled to correction of all deficiencies before they are obligated to make the final payment. In fact, a contractor’s insistence on receiving final payment before fixing final deficiencies may actually result in a repudiation of the parties’ agreement.

Going Green the Smart Way

Greater demand from consumers and regulators in British Columbia for environmentally sustainable or “green” building practices suggests potential benefits for “green-contractors”. A common strategy is to adopt a labelling system that advertises compliance with defined environmental standards. Common examples of green-labels used in B.C.’s construction industry include the Energy Star label and the Built Green seals.