Chris Hirst

Missing the forest for the trees in construction contract review

Construction contracts are often daunting stacks of paper. It is not uncommon for even basic standard form agreements to include fifty plus pages of general conditions, plus appendices, schedules and other attachments.

In reviewing such contracts, where does one start …

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Clearing the air around air space rights

A recent B.C. case has addressed the legal issues surrounding tower cranes and their infringement upon neighboring land. If followed, the case may significantly redefine the discussions between developers and adjacent owners over airspace rights.

The law in Canada is …

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How to navigate the subtleties of contract warranties

Buried near the end of most construction contracts are contractual warranties. These clauses rarely receive much attention or comment but, a recent court decision has highlighted the risks inherent in these common clauses.

In Greater Vancouver Water District v. North

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The misunderstood Builders Lien

The subject of Builders Liens is much discussed, but little understood. Industry participants with considerable experience often still misunderstand many of the central rights and remedies provided by the legislation.

The following is intended as a primer (or …

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Incorporation by reference

Most trade contracts incorporate “by reference” the terms and conditions of the prime contract.

Are these clauses effective? Short answer: not really.

The general rule of interpretation is that a trade contractor is only bound by the terms of the …

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Release of holdbacks

An awful lot of cash sits every day in holdback accounts. That cash waits there, ever so patiently, until such time as somebody says or does the right things to have it released.

If you are an owner, this situation …

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Understanding risks in warranties is crucial before signing any contract

Warranties form part of nearly every construction contract yet they remain poorly understood by many stakeholders in the construction industry. Despite this lack of knowledge, courts have had little hesitation in enforcing warranties. As a result, understanding the risk inherent …

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‘If-paid’ and ‘when-paid’ not finding favour with courts

 

If you are in the construction industry, you will have heard of the “pay-when-paid” clause and its evil twin, the “pay if paid” clause. Though widely used, these clauses remain controversial and are often confused.

While both of these …

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Good paper trail can derail legal claim

The very thought of being involved in a lawsuit sends a chill down the spine of most.

Unfortunately, if you are involved in construction, you are likely to eventually find yourself in a lawsuit no matter how careful or reasonable …

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Strategies mitigate risks

After several lacklustre  years, the construction world in B.C. is heating up again.With more work comes more risk. The promise of greater returns will be illusory unless those risks are properly managed and contained. Fortunately,there are some basic riskmanagement strategies that are sure …

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