Construction and Engineering

The last decade has seen a substantial expansion of major project development in Western Canada and the North, with significant changes in the structure and allocation of risk amongst the participants in those projects.

Lawson Lundell’s Construction and Engineering Group has extensive experience in all aspects of project development, construction and engineering. Members of the group have prepared, reviewed and negotiated terms and documentation for public infrastructure, oil and gas, co-generation, hydro-electric, mining and forestry projects located through Western Canada and the North, as well as internationally in South America and South East Asia. In many of these projects, our lawyers have worked closely with project engineers in the preparation of tender packages and have settled joint venture, consulting, financing, insurance and bonding arrangements for the participants. As many of these assignments have extended over a number of years, members of the group have been engaged on an ongoing basis to provide advice on a variety of construction-related issues, including claims. More recently, members of the group have been involved in complex RFP and similar procurement processes for public infrastructure projects, including public-private partnerships.

The Construction and Engineering Group also includes dispute resolution specialists experienced in a wide variety of construction matters that have been resolved by negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation. These have involved complex claims disputes as well as the more common issues arising from the tendering and procurement process, change orders and claims for extras, changed conditions, liens, bonds, inadequate design or specifications and other related matters. Our litigation lawyers have appeared before all levels of courts and various alternative dispute resolution forums.

The group’s activities include:

Procurement Processes

We have assisted in all manner of procurement processes, in both the public and private sectors, from simple requests for quotations and qualifications to complex RFPs and tender packages.

Contracting

We have prepared and negotiated various contracts within the overall project development process, from teaming and joint venture agreements to standard engineering, consulting and construction agreements to complex EPC and EPCM documents for major projects. We are familiar with the standard CCDC (www.ccdc.org) and CCA documents (www.cca-acc.com) generally used in Canada as well as the FIDIC (www.fidic.org) documents used internationally.

Litigation

We have assisted owners, contractors and sub-contractors involved in various complex construction disputes including delay claims and cases involving manufacturers of asbestos-containing construction products such as the landmark Privest Properties action which was the first asbestos property damage case to be litigated in Canada and now a leading products liability authority. We have also acted for various parties involved in numerous leaky condominium and leaky school actions, for both owners and contractors involved in various tendering disputes and for owners, contractors and material suppliers in enforcing and/or defending builders lien claims.

Key Contacts

Examples of the group’s experience include:

Project Development

  • Project counsel to major hydro-electric generation projects, as well as various independent power projects
  • Counsel to various mining companies in the development and construction of major mining projects, including:
    • the Diavik Diamond Mine in the NWT
    • the Hope Bay gold project in Nunavut
    • the Blackwater gold and silver project in BC
    • the Cliffs Chromite project in the “Ring of Fire” region of Ontario
    • the Mary River iron ore project on Baffin Island, Nunavut
    • the Wolverine coal mine in BC
    • the Carmacks and Casino copper projects in the Yukon
    • the Onca Puma ferronickel project in Brazil
  • Project counsel to major forest products companies for various mill development and expansion projects
  • Special counsel to an international oil corporation for its oil sands development
  • Advisors to owners developing co-generation, smelter, port terminals and other facilities
  • Counsel in the construction and procurement of various components of the automated rapid transit commuter rail system serving the lower mainland of British Columbia

Dispute Resolution

  • Counsel for contractors and owners involved in numerous tendering disputes. In particular, we acted as counsel for an aluminum company in a multi-million dollar claim brought against an engineering firm, among others, in connection with the tendering of a tunnel boring contract
  • Counsel to various developers and contractors in numerous leaky condominium and leaky school actions across British Columbia
  • Counsel for a manufacturer of steam turbines who was named as a defendant in an action after the turbines, which were installed in a newsprint mill constructed in British Columbia, catastrophically failed. The case against the manufacturer was dismissed after a lengthy trial
  • Counsel to various parties prosecuting and defending builders’ lien and miners’ lien claims
  • Counsel to numerous contractors, sub-contractors, architects and material suppliers in enforcing claims under performance and labour and material bonds
  • Counsel to several different project owners and contractors in prosecuting and defending delay and other significant damage claims. In particular, we acted as counsel to the general contractor in prosecuting a claim for cost overruns arising from the construction of road, bridges and a mine haul road into a coal mine located in southeast British Columbia
  • Counsel to a major mining company in the prosecution of its miners’ lien and other rights as against a defaulting party who filed for creditor protection pursuant to the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act
  • Counsel to a developer of a real estate project in the Lower Mainland in the prosecution of a claim against an engineering firm for delay and other damages
  • Counsel to a general contractor in prosecuting a claim against another contractor who was involved in a multi-million dollar renovation project in respect of a hospital in Victoria
  • Counsel to a lender to a large real estate development project in its defence of claims brought against it by subcontractors in respect of the project which is located in the Lower Mainland
  • Counsel to an owner of a hotel in Williams Lake in the defence of claims brought against it by a general contractor regarding significant renovations to the hotel
  • Counsel to a home warranty provider in claims brought against it by an owner of property in Kamloops
  • Counsel to an independent power producer who built a run of the river hydro project in defending claims brought by a road builder for the project
  • Counsel to numerous property owners in respect of deficiency claims against warranty providers and general contractors
  • Counsel to a Trustee in Bankruptcy regarding a unique builders’ lien claim adjudication program which was approved by the Supreme Court of British Columbia regarding an insolvent general contractor and advised the Trustee with respect to claims advanced as part of that program