Construction liens are normal in large construction projects, but that does not mean they are easy to navigate. Any business undertaking that involves a multi-year timeline or schedule, millions of dollars in costs, thousands of employees and dozens of contracting companies can find itself in trouble over business-related payment disagreements. When this happens on a construction project, a contracting company might file a construction lien, which — if unpaid — allows them to secure partial ownership of the property being constructed.
Construction liens are one of the only ways courts in Canada have of bringing fairness to complicated construction law disagreements where one party claims that it was not paid according to contract, or where one party is owed additional money according to the contract. In many cases, the money may not exist to pay the party that is owed, or the other party refuses to pay the money owed, so the law provides a means by which the owed party can secure ownership of the very piece of property that the owed party helped to build and create.
Still, a construction lien can be disputed, and just because a party claims to be owed money does not mean that it has the right view and interpretation of the contract. This is where the Canada court system comes into play, as each side of the dispute asserts their side of the case before a civil court judge in the hope of prevailing in the case. Due to the uncertainty of trial proceedings, however, most parties agree to settle these kinds of disputes in order maintain some level control over the outcome of the proceedings.
At Ridout Barron, we have years of experience helping construction companies navigate the complexities of construction lien disagreements in the Alberta area. If your company believes it is owed money according to a construction contract, or if your company is being pursued for payment inappropriately, we are available to help.