What’s Old is New Again – Municipal Reserve Lands in Alberta Cannot be Liened

Builders’ liens are a useful tool for unpaid contractors and subcontractors on a construction project. They provide a right to make a claim and register an instrument against title to a parcel of land, with the ultimate remedy being a sale of those lands in default of payment of the lien. However, not all lands […] Read More

Show me the Money! Timing the Release of Holdback

In Alberta, where a contractor is of the opinion that the work under its contract is substantially performed, the contractor may issue and deliver to the owner a certificate of substantial performance (“CSP”) in respect of the contract. Taking this step allows a contractor to receive payment of the statutory 10% holdback prior to its […] Read More

Bet Your Bottom Dollar – Orphans No More!

By Doug Nishimura, Catriona Otto-Johnston and Andrew Wilkinson Today the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Re:  Redwater [2019 SCC 5].  The decision, which overturns decisions of the Alberta Court of Queens Bench and Court of Appeal, has far reaching effect on the treatment of oil companies in insolvency proceedings (bankruptcy, receivership or […] Read More

Tick-Tock Goes the Lien Clock

Catriona Otto-Johnston and Jill Bishop Builders’ liens are an important tool, providing contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers security for unpaid work. The template s.48 Order requires a lien claimant to file a Statement of Claim within 180 days of registering the lien; however, before the template Order came into existence, this requirement was regularly seen in […] Read More

Keeping Your Hands Lien: Don’t Forget a CLP!

By Catriona Otto-Johnston & Nada Ladhani Builders’ liens are an important tool for contractors, subcontractors and suppliers when collecting unpaid invoices on a project. Although a lien does not guarantee payment, it does provide security and mitigate business risk. The lien process is complex with many timelines to be complied with or risk losing the […] Read More

Extra! Extra! How Do Subcontractor Change Orders Affect the Lien Fund? It Depends…

More often than not, contractors and subcontractors perform extra work on construction projects over and above the scope of work contemplated by a fixed price contract. Where a subcontractor performs extra work at a contractor’s request, it will often be to the contractor’s account, absent any work required by a subcontractor to correct deficiencies in […] Read More

A Reference to Deference – The Court Weighs in on a Consultant’s Findings

The consultant plays an important role in any construction project. The consultant is obligated to fulfill its role in impartial manner, even though a contractor or owner may not always agree with the consultant’s determinations. If that happens, it’s important to understand how the Court treats a consultant’s findings when a dispute arises and the […] Read More

When Calculating Lien Periods, it’s Convenient to be Prevenient

By: Catriona Otto-Johnston and Kendra Heinz Are you out of time to register your lien? It depends! Under section 41 of the Builders’ Lien Act (the “BLA”) a lien must be registered within 45 days (or 90 days for an oil or gas well or well site) after the last day services or materials are […] Read More

Mitigate Before you Litigate: Recovering Damages for Renovations Gone Wrong

By: Catriona Otto-Johnston and Chloe Mathioudakis The Court will not always resolve a construction contract dispute against a contractor who clearly provided deficient work.  If you have been wronged by a residential renovation that’s gone off the rails, or if you’re a contractor and a client is refusing to pay based on this premise, it […] Read More

Unilaterally amending payment terms by conduct alone…Nice try!

By: Catriona Otto-Johnston and Rob Watson As a contractor, you might find yourself in a situation where the method for calculating payment originally agreed to in the contract becomes unworkable with the actual project scope or existing work-site conditions. Perhaps it would be beneficial to you if the contract contained different payment terms. While a […] Read More