The construction industry is inherently risky. But the risks can be managed. On a successful project, risks are allocated efficiently, and challenges are managed effectively.
Sound legal advice plays an essential role in anticipating, allocating and managing risks. Our Construction & Engineering Group applies our experience with a wide range of construction projects across all sectors of the economy to help clients allocate and manage risks that are specific to their projects.
Our group provides advice at all stages of a project, but at the group’s core is a team of lawyers who thrive on the resolution of disputes. This team draws on the experience and expertise of other groups in our firm, who provide advice in health law, administrative and regulatory law, commercial litigation, and real estate, to name a few. The result is a team that is experienced in more than just construction law, and one that understands your business and all the issues at play in the dispute.
We advise large public and private institutions, municipalities, developers, contractors and consultants involved in the full range of disputes relating to construction and engineering. With that said, we have developed expertise working with three core client groups:
- Parties involved in high stakes litigation arising from complex multi-party disputes.
Multi-party litigation where the stakes are high (whether financial, reputational, or both) presents a unique set of challenges. Our team understands these challenges, having acted as counsel in some of Canada’s most significant litigation, including the Mount Polley Mine disaster and a number of multi-billion dollar product liability claims.
- Design professionals involved in disputes relating to the provision of their professional services.
Design professionals must manage a wide range of risks. They are not always paid, either in full or on time. Copyright issues arise. They can run into difficulty with their regulatory body. They are dragged into construction defect and delay claims. Our team has decades of experience assisting design professionals in resolving the full range of disputes in which they can become involved.
- Institutions whose projects have not unfolded as anticipated and who are seeking advice with respect to their remedies.
Institutions are often responsible for large public infrastructure projects. Building a hospital, a school, a research facility, or a district energy system is a complex undertaking. When the risks involved with one of these projects materialize, our team provides strategic advice to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner and any losses are recovered.
- Risk management & loss prevention
- Contract drafting & review
- Assisting parties with nuisance claims including bringing or defending injunctions to stop specific activities on construction projects
- Assisting clients in disputes with municipalities and provincial governments in respect to the enforcement of bylaws, statutes and regulations
- Providing advice with respect to environmental and pollution issues which arise during construction projects
- Assisting owners and claimants with builders' liens
- Assisting owners, contractors, and consultants with fee disputes, construction defects and delay claims
- Providing advice in respect to insurance disputes relating to the duty to defend, coverage, and overlapping policies
- Defending architects, engineers and construction professionals accused of professional negligence/breach of contract
- Bringing and defending product liability claims
Because of its intangible form, transience and volume, electronic information needs to be treated differently than its paper counterparts.
To make matters even more challenging, the data is saved in multiple forms and in multiple places — from traditional file storage to email servers, the Web, smart phones, and other locations. When litigation arises, the task of preserving, collecting, processing, and reviewing this data can be daunting and expensive.
The Litigation Support & E-Discovery Services Department works in tandem with our lawyers in managing all electronically stored information data files and large-scale litigation. Our litigation support professionals manage the technical challenges of the e-discovery life cycle, which allows our lawyers to focus on reviewing and presenting the most relevant documents.
The investigative processes associated with e-discovery can be more complex and time sensitive than in other legal matters. Using our proven and cutting-edge technologies, our litigation support professionals identify key documents and facts to assist our lawyers in developing the strongest possible case In addition, our Litigation Support & E-Discovery team advises on data management issues before litigation arises and provides efficient and economical solutions to control e-discovery costs after litigation develops.
- Data management strategies
- Metadata discovery and analysis
- Data remediation
- Litigation support and dispute resolution
- Information organization
- Records & risk management
- $400 million claim for loss of profits, loss of share price and repair costs: This dispute arose from the failure of a tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley Mine in northern British Columbia, one of the largest environmental disasters in Canadian history. The owner of the mine is suing the engineers responsible for designing the tailings storage facility for damages including environmental cleanup costs, loss of profits, and loss of share price.
- $100 million dispute relating to construction and operation of a chemical plant: The claim relates to representations as its viability, cost and operation.
- $50 million legal action in the Yukon relating to the development and construction of a large electricity transmission system. We represented an engineering firm in a dispute with the government agency and the contractor.
- $35 million dollar dispute for delays and extras: This dispute arose from the construction of a large hotel and residential high rise building. We acted for the City of Vancouver in pursing an injunction and addressing claims and counterclaims for damages in relation to delay.
- $30+ million claim for delays, extras and outstanding fees: This dispute arose during the construction of a publicly-funded bridge. We acted for a consulting engineering firm. The dispute involved numerous claims and cross-claims: the contractor advanced a claim for delays and extras against the owner; the owner alleged the prime consultant and its sub-consultant, our client, were responsible for the contractor’s claim, and our client advanced a claim for additional fees.
- $20 million legal action for delay and loss of profits arising from the failure of processing equipment at a pulp and paper mill.
- $10 million dispute in relation to alleged design and construction defects associated with the waste water digesters in a large-scale expansion of a waste water treatment plant: We represented a joint venture of three international engineering firms who were sued in respect to the design.
- Multi-million dollar dispute relating to claims for delays and extras: This dispute arose from the complete failure of a water filtration plant built for a municipality in southeastern British Columbia. We represented a municipality claiming damages resulting from construction delays and deficiencies.
- Multi-million dollar dispute relating to district energy system. We represent an institution in a claim against the suppliers of defective products incorporated into the system.
- $3 million dispute over costs incurred due to delay arising from the failure of a proposed residential subdivision development in a northern British Columbia community. We acted for an engineering firm involved in the development.
- Represented architects in the first leaky condominium case to proceed to a full trial, and successfully negotiated a discontinuance of the claims against an architect prior to the trial.
- Successfully defended a local structural engineering firm in a case involving design and construction deficiencies in a school.
- Represented a professional architect in an appeal hearing against the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and successfully overturned disciplinary findings.
- Represented a professional engineer in an appeal hearing against the Association of Professional Engineers of the Yukon and successfully overturned disciplinary findings.
- Represented an architectural firm in a case involving a dispute regarding its intellectual property.
- Assisted a municipality with the enforcement of its bylaws relating to damage to its property during construction activity by a developer
Cameron Elder receives Lexpert® 2018 Rising Star - Leading Lawyer Under 40 award
24 Harper Grey lawyers recognized for litigation expertise by Benchmark Canada®, 2021
Harper Grey receives highest firm ranking as a “Highly Recommended” local litigation law firm in British Columbia from Benchmark Canada® 2014-2021
Chris Rusnak recognized as a “Leader in His Field” in the area of Dispute Resolution (British Columbia) by Chambers Canada® 2017-2020
29 Harper Grey lawyers recognized across 13 specialty areas by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2020
19 Harper Grey lawyers recognized as “Leading Practitioners” by Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®, 2021
Harper Grey recognized as a "Leading Law Firm" regionally in the area of Dispute Resolution by Chambers Canada®, 2017-2020
Harper Grey receives the TAGLaw Membership Award of Distinction acknowledging 15 years of outstanding service
Martindale Hubbell® recognizes 13 Harper Grey lawyers across 27 practice areas
Harper Grey recognized as a Top 10 Regional Firm in British Columbia, Alberta and the Territories by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, 2012 and 2014