Articles & Publications

Article | |

Holdback Liens Against Holdbacks Up The Construction Chain – Hi-Tide Shoring & Foundations (2012) Ltd. v Chandos Construction Ltd.

In the recent case of Hi-Tide Shoring & Foundation (2012) Ltd. v Chandos Construction Ltd., the British Columbia Supreme Court considered whether a sub-subcontractor on a construction project may claim a holdback lien against the holdbacks held up the construction chain or was limited to claiming against the holdback that relates to the sub-subcontractor’s own contract. The Court said that subcontractors may claim against holdbacks retained at each level of the construction chain up to the holdback retained by the owner. However, when it comes time to determine how much the subcontractor is paid for that claim of lien, section 34 of the Builders Lien Act may limit the amount the lien claimants may recover through such claims.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection June 2024 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Article, Staff | |

Legal Issues in Municipal Tax Sales – 2024

Tax sales have been a municipal collection remedy in British Columbia for over a century. More recently, tax sales of property in Penticton, Spallumcheen and Pemberton have attracted media attention and revealed the significant financial and emotional risk to owners, and the significant liability risk to municipalities, that can arise from misunderstanding or being unaware that a property has been sold for municipal tax sales. When conducting a tax sale, a collector’s first reference should always be to the procedures set out in the Local Government Act, RSBC 2015, c 1 and the Community Charter, SBC 2003, c 26 .1 The intention of this paper is to provide supplementary commentary on legal issues that arise from matters not expressly covered in the statute.

Presented at the GFOABC Annual Conference in Kamloops, BC on June 4, 2024.

Read Full Article

Article, Staff | |

Questions of Duty, Discretion and Liability: When Every Bylaw Cannot be Effectively Enforced Everywhere All at Once

A local government bylaw enforcement officer will be aware of many bylaw contraventions within their community. The responses from the community and the local government to these contraventions may differ widely. This paper addresses several questions that commonly arise with regard to when and how bylaw enforcement action should be taken.

Presented at the LGCEA Annual Conference on May 16, 2024.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

How New Amendments to the Local Government Act Can Affect Developers and Contractors: An Overview of the Housing Statutes Amendment Act, 2024, SBC 2024, c 11

In addition to the slew of changes made to the Local Government Act and Community Charter last year and earlier this year, British Columbia’s recently-enacted Housing Statutes Amendment Act, 2024 came into force on April 25, 2024. Accordingly, developers and contractors should be aware of potential changes coming to their municipality or regional district that may affect future building projects.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection May 2024 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

The Requirement for Reasonableness in Rezoning Decisions: Lessons for Local Governments and Builders in Fergus Creek Homes Ltd. v. City of Surrey

Land developers and builders will be familiar with the decision-making powers over land use that are conferred to British Columbia local governments under the Local Government Act as well as the required approvals that are needed from these public bodies where a proposed land development project requires an amendment to the official community plan or a rezoning of the lands prior to proceeding with the project. The recent decision of Fergus Creek Homes Ltd. v. Surrey 2024 BCSC 207 provides a recent example of how a judicial review can be used by land developers to challenge local government decisions over land use.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection April 2024 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

Builders’ Liens and Stays of Proceedings in Receiverships

Pandemic-related debt, high interest rates, high energy costs, shortages of labour and rising costs of equipment and materials could all contribute to a rise in the number of insolvencies in the construction industry. A contractor becoming insolvent can have a number of impacts on both the project owner, the subcontractors and suppliers. This article discusses a particular issue related to a contractor becoming insolvent after subcontractors have filed builders liens against the project property.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection February 2024 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

Waivers in Contracts and their Risks and Consequences to Parties

It is a common understanding that parties to a contract are bound by the provisions of that contract. However, there may come a time when one or more parties wish to waive a provision in the contract, or when one party breaches a contract, but the other party is prepared to overlook the breach. These situations raise many important questions: if you expressly waive an obligation does this waiver last indefinitely? If you do not explicitly waive an obligation, but take no action in response to the breach, has that obligation been waived?

This article gives readers an overview of the law on waivers, the difficulties surrounding waiver, and the ways parties often try to protect themselves from the uncertainty of waivers.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection January 2024 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

The Consequences of Building in Violation of Local Rules: A Case Comment on City of Surrey v. Sidhu 2023 BCSC 1837

Building a residence or structure without obtaining the necessary permits and where the construction contravenes local bylaws can be a costly lesson for property owners when they become the target of enforcement action by a regulator or local authority. The recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision in City of Surrey v. Sidhu 2023 BCSC 1837 (the “Petition Proceedings”) highlights the consequences of undertaking construction projects in flagrant violation of local building requirements and carrying on with such construction after a stop work order has been posted on the property.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection December 2023 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Publication, Staff | |

Build, Baby, Build: An Overview of Updates Regarding the Housing Supply Act, Housing Supply Regulation and Housing Target Orders

In light of the Housing Supply Regulation coming into force and the new housing target orders, this article briefly reviews the important provisions of the Housing Supply Act, outlines the Regulation and considers additional recently enacted legislation related to the supply of housing in British Columbia. This article then considers the potential impacts of the legislation and housing target orders on the construction industry generally.

As published in the NRCA’s Northern Construction Connection November 2023 Newsletter, and VICA’s e-New.

Read Full Article

Article, Publication, Staff | |

Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act: A Summary of Bill 35 – 2023

The Government of British Columbia has introduced Bill 35, which, if passed, would enact the Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act. The Act is intended to regulate and curtail the listing of rentals of less than 90 days or as otherwise prescribed by regulation in communities throughout the province as part of its Homes for People Action Plan introduced in the spring of 2023. The Act aims to increase fines and strengthen enforcement tools for local governments, return short-term rentals to the long-term rental market, and establish provincial rules and enforcement.

Read Full Article