Hurricane Season 2015
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ National Hurricane Center has a wealth of information about the Hurricane season, tracking any potential storms, preparation for the storm, evacuation and shelters.
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/experimental/inundation/ National Hurricane Center Potential Storm Surge and Flooding Map
http://www.fema.gov/ 800-621-3362 Federal Emergency Management Agency where you can apply for recovery assistance after the storm .
http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ Disaster Assistance has access to disaster help and resources.
EXPERT WITNESS – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expert_witness
CONSULTANT – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consultant
PROJECT MANAGEMENT – http://pmbook.ce.cmu.edu/
Insurance Claims Resources – http://www.claimspages.com/
Building & Construction Directory - http://www.thebluebook.com/
The Role Of The Consultant In Construction
The role of the consultant on a construction project is often not fully understood by the
other parties involved on the project, including the consultant’s client, the owner. Consequently,
the consultant may find itself underutilized. There are also instances where the consultant itself
is not fully aware of its duties and obligations to the owner and others, thereby exposing itself to
potential liability claims.
During construction, the role of a consultant is to administer the contract as described in
the “Contract Documents”. However, the Contract Documents do not reference the agreement
between the owner and consultant which outlines the professional services to be provided to the
project. As noted above, the impact of the services provided by the consultant can be significant.
The contractor should make themselves aware of the arrangement in place between the owner
and the consultant and understand the scope of that arrangement at the outset of the project.
With increased awareness and understanding, all parties can benefit from the advantages
of having a consultant involved in the construction process. With a clearer understanding of its
obligations, the consultant can better carry out their obligations to the owner and others.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the role of the consultant as defined
by the agreement between the consultant and the owner, the applicable industry
standards, and the law, during the various stages of construction.
Role of the Consultant
The Consultant now provides administration of the Contract as described in the Contract Documents with no temporal or other restrictions on the provision of its services.
This is a new provision.
The Consultant must promptly inform the Owner of the date of
receipt of the Contractor’s applications for payment. If the
Consultant does not act promptly, then the Contractor can give notice
of default to the Owner with warnings of suspension or termination of
the work. This remedy remains unchanged from the 1994 version.
Except with respect to Financing Information Required of
the Owner, the Consultant will be, in the first instance, the interpreter
of the requirements of the Contract Documents.
This is a new section.
The Consultant will make findings pursuant to GC 6.6 in relation to
claims for a change in Contract Price. The structure here is to lump
together claims for extra payments claimed by the Contractor for any
reason and to submit them to the Consultant for its finding.
This procedure deals with claims and is distinct from the contract
provisions which deal with the resolution of disputes. A claim may
become a dispute when it is not recognized as a valid claim under the
Cost of Review and Inspection of the Work
The wording of this section was subtly changed. Rather than the
Contractor being obliged to give the Consultant “reasonable notice of
when the work will be ready for review and inspection”, the
Contractor is now required to provide “reasonable notification” of the
This change can be interpreted to mean that notice should be
communicated more formally than before, and that sufficient notice is
required and that a record of notification should be retained by the
Contractor to avoid subsequent debates about how and when notice
The Contractor must pay the cost of making any test or inspection, if
designated in the Contract Documents to be performed by the
Contractor or by the laws or ordinances applicable to the Place of
Work; and must pay the cost of samples required for any test or
inspection to be performed by the Consultant or the Owner, if
designated in the Contract Documents.
There were no such provisions in the 1994 version.
Defective Work The Contractor is required to promptly correct any defective work
that has been rejected by the Consultant as failing to conform to the
THE STANDARD FORM CONSULTANT CONTRACTS
Typically, the responsibilities of the consultant on a construction project are set out in a
standard form agreement between the consultant and the owner. The consultant may be an
architect or an engineer. For the architect, the standard form contract most commonly used is the
Canadian Standard Form of Contract for Architectural Services Document Six (“Document 6”).
For the engineer, the typical standard form contract is the Association of Consulting Engineers of
Canada Document 31 (“ACEC 31”).
Both Document 6 and ACEC 31 can be used in its prescribed standard form, or parties
can tailor the agreement to fit the needs of different parties and projects by the use of
supplementary conditions. To the horror of legal counsel, there are projects on which no formal
written agreement is actually executed between the owner and the consultant. While parties are
not required to use the standard form contracts, it is prudent for the parties to execute some
written agreement, whether it is a standard form agreement with or without supplementary
conditions, or a unique agreement. In fact, I would go as far as to say that a written agreement is
a bare minimum for risk management.
It is the writer’s view that both Document 6 and ACEC 31 are “pro-consultant”, with
terms drafted by the consultant for the consultant. For example, both standard form contracts
contain terms that protect the consultant by limiting the consultant’s liability exposure both in
terms of time and quantum. Owners may want to consider adding more protection to the
consultant agreement by using supplementary conditions or a unique contract drafted for a
specific project. If one subscribes to the view that a fair and equitable agreement is an effective
deterrent of project strife, then supplementary conditions will be required to add balance to the
standard form contracts.
THE ROLE OF THE CONSULTANT DURING THE DESIGN STAGE
Involving the consultant at an early stage of the construction project is often beneficial
for the owner. In fact, a consultant may even be involved pre-design in order to assist an owner
with tasks such as project budgeting and management, site selection, space relationships, and
During the design stage itself, the consultant determines the feasibility of the project from
an artistic, technical, logistical and financial standpoint. The consultant creates project design
concept and seeks approval for this design concept. It is also during this stage that the consultant
obtains the required development permit for the project.
During the schematic design stage, the consultant determines the feasibility of the
project. The consultant considers and proposes the preliminary concept and estimated cost of the
project. As with all tasks the consultant undertakes to do, in creating this proposal the consultant
must exercise the skill, care and diligence which may reasonably be expected of a person of
ordinary competence, measured by the professional standard applicable at the time the work is
being carried out.3 The consultant should thus not propose or be involved with a project that he
or she knows, or ought to know, cannot succeed. This is not to say that a consultant
unequivocally guarantees the results of a project, but rather, that the consultant must be
conscientious in performing its role.
In making its proposal regarding the concept and cost of a project, the consultant
must review and consider the characteristics of the chosen site, various design approaches, the
types of construction contracts, and structural, mechanical and electrical design concepts,
amongst other things. Whether the consultant is an architect or an engineer, he or she will have
to coordinate with his or her counterpart at all stages of the project’s development (for example,
an architect consultant will typically coordinate normal engineering services, and vice versa).
The consultant will want to thoroughly review everything that may impact the cost of a project
prior to giving its reasonable estimate of cost, as generally consultants are held to their estimate
unless they can meet the rather stringent test of justifying an increase in costs. Consultants are
bound to possess a reasonable amount of skill in their profession and to use a reasonable amount
of care and diligence in the carrying out of work which they undertake, including the preparation
of plans and specifications. If the cost of the project is not reasonably close to the consultant’s
estimate, it is the responsibility of the consultant to show how the discrepancy arose and why he
or she cannot be blamed for it.4 Any changes to the cost estimate during the project caused by
forces such as inflation or design changes must be accurately and promptly presented by the
consultant for the consultant to avoid negligence.5 The Supreme Court has found almost a
custom amongst engineers and architects, that parties relying on estimates should expect a 10%
plus or minus variation.
It is during this stage that the consultant moves forward with concept approval. It
is likely that he or she will take a more in depth look at some of the items considered during the
schematic design stage, and coordinate and develop the actual design of the project. If not
already done during the schematic design stage, the consultant will review the building code, and
make a development permit submission. In some cases, the consultant may be responsible for or
involved with additional tasks like interior design development, promotional presentations,
rezoning variance submissions, geotechnical and/or civil design development, and special studies
reports (such as planning tenant or rental spaces).
It is the consultant’s responsibility to determine which licences and permits must
be obtained and advise the owner regarding the same. The consultant has a duty to ensure the
owner is aware of the options available during this process. For example, in one case the
architect made some inquiries with lower level employees at a planning department regarding
whether a property zoning would allow multiple dwellings. He received favourable replies from
these employees and reported this to the developer, who proceeded to file plans based on the
architect’s information. The plans were ultimately rejected by the decision-maker at the planning
department. Because the architect had not advised the developer that the planning department
decision-maker could be consulted at the pre-design stage of the project, the developer was able
to successfully sue the architect in negligence.6
Typically the owner approves the consultant’s design. To the extent the owner has
the same or more experience with any particular aspect of the plan, the consultant may avoid
liability regarding that design component, as the owner may be in a better position to determine
whether the design should proceed with that component as is. Conversely, the owner will only be
responsible for the technical aspects of a design on rare occasions; generally, the owner does not
have the professional background necessary to be held accountable for these parts.7
The consultant is responsible for the specifications, plans and drawings related to
a project. Unless timelines are specifically accounted for in a contract, the consultant is under an
implied obligation to provide the owner with the specifications, plans and drawings within a
reasonable time.8 The specifications are a detailed and precise written description of the project,
while the plans and drawings are detailed images of the same. It is extremely important that the
drawings provide ample detail because they are used by contractors to both estimate the cost of
the work involved, and to construct the work as designed.9 If the drawings or specifications do
not indicate unusual features or hazards on a site, for example, the consultant may be held liable
for the increased cost of construction resulting from a contractor’s encounter with these items.10
This liability is subject to the terms of the contract between the owner and the contractor. In
addition, while detailed, it is unusual for drawings and specifications to provide information to
the contractor regarding how the work should be constructed. Unless otherwise stipulated,
contractors are at liberty to choose their own construction methods.11
While typically the consultant has been hired before he or she creates the
specifications, plans and drawings for a contract, at times, drawings are prepared by a consultant
and given to an owner in the hope that the owner will hire the consultant for the project. In these
circumstances, the consultant cannot expect to be paid for his or her efforts in preparing the
drawings. Whether a consultant is entitled to remuneration in a situation where the owner has
asked the consultant to prepare drawings, but makes them subject to the owner’s approval, is less
clear. While an early decision from England indicated that the consultant did not have to be paid
in these circumstances, later decisions have gone in the opposite direction, holding the owner
responsible for payment. For example, in one situation an architect was asked to design a home
for a family similar to the family’s existing house with a few changes. The architect produced
schematic sketches and design development drawings, as well as working drawings which were
submitted to the City of Vancouver to obtain a building permit. After seeing the schematic
sketches and design development drawings the owner expressed dissatisfaction with certain
aspects of the drawings, claiming they did not reflect what the parties had initially discussed. The
parties had other meetings, revisions were made to the drawings, but a firm decision was not
made with regard to a few details. The owner left for Hawaii, the architect prepared the final
drawings and, confident that the owner would accept them, submitted the drawings to the city.
When the owner discovered the drawings did not reflect his intentions he hired another architect
who completed the family’s home. By the time the owner terminated his relationship with his
initial architect, the architect had invoiced the owner for payment for the cost of preparing the
plans for submission. The court found that the architect was entitled to this payment.12 A general
test to determine whether a consultant is entitled to payment is whether the circumstances gave
rise to a presumption that the work was intended to be paid for.13
- THE ROLE OF THE CONSULTANT DURING BIDDING AND NEGOTIATIONS
The consultant represents the owner and acts as the owner’s agent in the preparation,
issuance and supervision of tender documents. The consultant also prepares, or co-ordinates and
issues the addenda to the tender documents, if needed. Once bids have been received, the
consultant evaluates them and consults with the owner about them. While the consultant is
responsible for a considerable amount of the tender process, the owner can have some
involvement with it. ACEC 31, section 2.7, states that the owner is responsible for the incidental
advertising related to obtaining tenders, and that the owner must “provide or reimburse the
Engineer for obtaining necessary legal, accounting, insurance, bonding and other counselling
services in connection with the Project”.
The consultant owes a duty of care to protect owners, even if there is no contract between
them. In one case, the structural engineer had no contract with the owner; rather, the architect
had hired him. The engineer became concerned with the soil conditions and warned the architect.
However, he failed to tell the owner and was found liable for failure in his duty of care.4*** It is
the consultant’s responsibility to ensure that the tender documents contain all of the information
13 McLachlin et al., supra note 1 at 278-279.
that the owner has pertaining to the project. If the tender documents omit or provide inaccurate
information, the consultant must draw this to the contractor’s attention. If new information or
errors come to light after the tender documents have been issued, the consultant must ensure that
all contractors interested in bidding receive an addendum correcting the deficiency. If the
consultant does not comply with this process, the consultant or the owner may be liable to the
contractor for any resulting harm.14 In one case, an engineering firm designed and stated the
specifications for a road construction project. A construction firm successfully bid on the project
based on the specifications and drawings that the engineering firm provided, and was awarded a
contract with the province of British Columbia. After beginning construction, the contractor
claimed that the documents the engineering firm prepared were inaccurate and that they suffered
a loss as a result. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed with the contractor, and held that
because the contractor was relying on the documents the engineering firm provided, the
engineering firm was liable to the contractor.15 This conclusion was based in part on the fact that
bidding period was too short to allow bidders to conduct a thorough review fo the accuracy of
the engineering works; furthermore, duplication of the work would be costly. Thus, bidders must
be able to rely on those who supply information to them.5***
- CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION
During the construction contract administration, the consultant owes a duty to the owner
to ensure that the contractor abides with the terms of its construction contract and that it follows
the plans and specifications in constructing the project. The most common way for the consultant
to ensure that the construction contract is being adhered to is through on site field reviews.
(a) Field Reviews
In Document 6, “General Review / Field Review” is defined as follows:
review during visits to the Place of the Work (and where
applicable, at locations where building components are
fabricated for use at the Project site) at intervals
appropriate to the stage of the construction that the
Architect, in his or her professional discretion, considers
necessary to become familiar with the progress and quality
of the Work and to determine that the Work is in general
conformity with the construction documents.
While the consultant is not expected to be at the project site every moment of
construction, either the consultant, or a qualified person acting on his or her behalf, should be at
the project site during all significant phases of the project. Before crucial elements of the project
are concealed from inspection, the consultant is obligated to ensure they comply with the project
drawings and specifications. In addition, the more complex the project is, and the greater the risk
is if something with the project goes wrong, the more attention the consultant has to give it.16 In
most cases, the consultant’s responsibility to inspect the project goes beyond merely looking at
it; rather the consultant has a positive obligation to ask the questions necessary to satisfy him or
herself that the project drawings and specifications are being complied with.17
The contractor has a responsibility to ensure the consultant knows when the
project is advancing from stage to stage. If the contractor does not do this, the consultant can
require that the contractor reveal work that has already been covered so that it can be inspected,
if this exposure is reasonably possible. If it is not possible for the contractor to reveal the covered
work for inspection, and the contractor did not give the consultant reasonable notice of the stage
the project had reached, then the consultant may inform the contractor that it did not abide by the
terms of its contract. In this situation, the contractor may be held liable for any damage that
results if an inspection could have avoided this damage.18
When a change in the Work is proposed or required,
the Consultant will provide the Contractor with a written
description of the proposed change in the Work. The
Contractor shall promptly present, in a form acceptable to
the Consultant, a method of adjustment or an amount of
adjustment for the Contract Price, if any, and the
adjustment in the Contract Time, if any, for the proposed
change in the Work.
When the Owner and Contractor agree to the
adjustments in the Contract Price and Contract Time or to
the method to be used to determine the adjustments, such
agreement shall be effective immediately and shall be
recorded in a Change Order. The value of the work
performed as the result of a Change Order shall be
included in the application for progress payment.
At times, the project drawings and specifications the consultant created have to be
amended after the actual construction of the project has begun. It is not uncommon for the
consultant to have the contractual authority necessary to order changes or additions to the
project. The necessity for a change order may be the result of changes made by the owner or the
consultant, deficiencies in the drawings and specifications, and through unexpected difficulties in
the physical conditions of the site or in obtaining necessary materials. If the change order is
required because of a failing in the project drawings or specifications, the consultant may be
responsible for the additional cost incurred.
As noted above, the consultant owes a duty of care to the owner, and this duty
carries over when the consultant is considering any change orders. This means that the consultant
must consider the interests of the owner in agreeing to any change orders.19
When dispute arises between the contractor and the owner which they are unable
to resolve, the first stage in the dispute resolution process set out in the CCDC 2 is for the parties
to involve the consultant. The particulars of the power of the consultant are set out in GC 2.2.7 to
GC 2.2.9. The consultant has the authority to resolve all claims or disputes relating to the
performance of the work or the interpretation of the contract documents, or any other matters
where the parties have failed to agree, and agreement is required.
The consultant is required to determine disputes in a unbiased and fair manner. In
such circumstances, the consultant must remove itself from its role as the owner’s representative
on the project to become the unbiased adjudicator of a dispute between its client, the owner and
the contractor. The dual roles of the consultant on the project relies heavily on the
professionalism of the consultant, and adds to the interesting and somewhat complex tripartite
relationship between owner, contractor and consultant under the CCDC 2 paradigm.
Consultants may fear that their role as a decision-maker at first instance would be
undermined if their decisions were exposed to a claim by a disappointed party. In some cases,
consultants have requested that the contract include a supplementary condition which is a waiver
of any claims arising from the consultant’s interpretations and findings with respect to the intent
of the contract documents. The parties will need to negotiate a balanced result amongst
themselves, but it seems appropriate to include this waiver of claims so as to maintain the
The one noted exception to the scope of the consultant’s authority in GC 2.2.7 is
set out in GC 5.1 – Financing Information Required of the Owner. On a dispute relating to
financing information required of the owner, the consultant has no authority to make any finding.
If a dispute arises in an area over which the consultant has no authority to make a finding, the
procedures under GC 8.1.3 and GC 8.2.3 to GC 8.2.8 are to be followed.
To invoke the power of the consultant, either party can make a referral to the
consultant in writing, and copy this to the other party. The consultant will then investigate, and
make a finding. This finding will be forwarded in writing to both the contractor and the owner
“within a reasonable time”.
If either party disputes a finding made in writing by the consultant, it must
provide Notice in Writing to the other party and to the consultant so stating (GC 8.2.2) within 15
Working Days. Failure to send such a notice results in the parties being “conclusively deemed” to
have accepted the finding, and to have expressly waived and released the other party from any
claims in respect to that particular matter set out in the finding.
The notice of dispute under GC 8.2.2 must contain sufficient particulars,
including references to particular terms of the contract documents which support the position of
the party disputing the finding. The responding party must provide, within 10 Working Days,
Notice in Writing setting out the particulars of its position, again including reference to any
specific contract documents.
The consultant also has the authority to give instructions to the contractor to
ensure proper performance of the Contract, and to prevent delays. The parties shall carry out the
instructions, without prejudice to their rights to maintain their positions in the dispute. If the
ultimate conclusion is that the instructions of the consultant resulted in work outside the scope of
the contract, the owner is liable to the contractor for the value of that work, including costs
resulting from interruption of the work.
Construction contracts differ from other contracts in the sense that under
construction contracts, such as the CCDC 2, the contractor can receive partial payment for its
work before the entire project has been completed. The construction contract will typically
outline a number of phases or intervals at which the contractor is entitled to progress payments,
and the amount the contractor is entitled to for each payment. Usually once a specific component
of the project has been completed, the contractor can receive partial payment for finishing that
particular part. It is the consultant’s responsibility to determine when these phases have been
successfully completed by the contractor, and thus when the contractor is entitled to payment.
Without the consultant’s certificate, the contractor cannot receive payment.
The contractor is responsible for applying for certificates of payment within a
reasonable time. The contractor should include in its application any proof it has in support of its
claim, such as bills of sale for materials. The consultant must deal with all claims for payment
promptly. In determining whether the contractor should receive a progress payment, the
consultant must decide not only whether the work has been completed and materials delivered,
but also whether the quality of the work conforms with contract requirements, and whether
subcontractors and suppliers have been paid.20 The consultant usually has the power to make
deductions to the contractor’s payment for holdbacks in accordance with the Builders Lien Act,21
and for incomplete work. Ultimately, the consultant is responsible for issuing the final certificate
for payment, at which time he or she must consider whether any lien claimant remains unpaid,
the cost of rectifying any defective work done by the contractor, and whether the final payment
amount should be adjusted in accordance with the progress payments.
- POST-COMPLETION INSPECTION
The consultant is responsible for inspecting the project once it has been completed. Like
a field review, this post-completion inspection is not just confined to a visual inspection, but
instead includes an obligation to make appropriate inquires of the contractor. The postcompletion
inspection must be comprehensive, and include structural, mechanical, and electrical
inspections. Once the consultant considers the work to be complete, he or she can issue the final
certificate for payment for the contractor.
The consultant has a wide variety of roles to play during the construction process.
Because the consultant plays a multifaceted part in the construction project, and is usually
involved in the project from the project’s inception to its completion, it is important to fully
understand consultant and authority. Doing so ensures that the consultant can be fully maximized
on each construction project.