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A Guide to Understanding Construction Law

Justice hammer with a construction helmet on the background indicating construction laws.

Canada's construction industry is worth about $141 billion a year. Hundreds of thousands of people are employed in the industry, which provides crucial infrastructure and services to the country. With so much at stake, a lot can go wrong. Millions of contracts are being signed, contractors working on sites might not be doing their jobs properly, and injuries can happen. There are many reasons that construction law can play a role in such complex projects. A construction lawyer can be a valuable asset when you set out to get involved in construction, even if it is just a tiny building site here in Kelowna. Keep reading to learn more about construction law and how it can help you.

What Is Construction Law?

There are so many facets to a construction project that it can be overwhelming. Construction law specializes in all the rules, regulations, and requirements that could come up.

Do you need special permissions for your building site? Are there environmental concerns?

Once you have prepared to start building, you need to hire contractors. This includes architects, designers, electricians, plumbers, and more.

If you are a contractor or even a construction worker, you know many things can go wrong on a site.

Construction law firms will typically focus on all legal matters that can arise before, during, and after the building process. A construction law attorney will be a specialist on the specific legal issues involved, whether you are building a road, a bridge, or a school.

Within construction law, you may find different specialists. These include finance, real estate, and bankruptcy lawyers.

What Is a Builder’s Lien?

A builder’s lien is sometimes employed if you are experiencing trouble getting paid. You are filing a legal claim against the property you worked on when filing a builder’s lien.

During this process, you are demonstrating your financial involvement in the project by asking for payment for the job you have already completed. In layman's terms, you can file a builder's lien if you have contributed labour or supplies to a job site that help to develop the land.

The existence of a lien prevents the property from being sold or refinanced and delays subsequent payments to the overall enterprise. You can file a lien against the business or constructor that hired you. This will protect you and your rights when building.

Keep Track of Deadlines

Each province has its own deadline for filing liens, which varies. Additionally, in certain jurisdictions, the terms "builders liens" and "mechanics liens" are interchangeable. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will not be able to reap the benefits of a builder's lien.

Why Would I Need a Construction Lawyer?

A construction law firm or attorney can help you both in contentious and non-contentious matters.

Building contracts can be complex and require excellent analytical skills.

A construction lawyer can work on the contracts needed at the beginning of the project. They can also assist in negotiations which are necessary at every step. This can include acquiring land, getting planning permissions, and negotiating timelines for construction.

Meanwhile, you might have been accused of workmanship issues if you are a contractor. You might not have been paid for the job you were hired to do. Construction law lawyers can help you get out of trouble.

Another thing that can go wrong is someone making a legal claim against your Kelowna property.

Construction defects such as toxic mould, code violations, or cracked foundations can also leave you open to legal claims.

What Can a Construction Lawyer Do?

Whether you want to build a house or a highway, you could be affected by zoning issues, contractor complaints, and contract negotiations. Construction law specifically aims to resolve these kinds of issues.

If you are involved in a building site here in Kelowna, contact Heritage Law Group for more information on how we can make your project run smoother.


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