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Time is of the essence – residential construction law

When you first notice an issue with your home, condominium, or building, you should not ignore it. Under Alberta law, typically deadlines start to run from when you knew or ought to have known that something was wrong, or could have reasonably observed it. This does not include hidden defects, which tend to have an ultimate limitation period of 10 years. Consulting with a construction lawyer should be your first step in understanding your rights, responsibilities, and time limitations.

Third Party Warranty

In addition to time limitations at law, there are also deadlines under new home warranty programs, which deadlines usually start to run from the date your occupancy permit is issued. The reason for this is simple: it is from when you knew, or could reasonably have started to see, defects with the home. Different types of issues will have different deadlines for claiming the warranty; for example, most new home warranty policies will allow 5 years from occupancy to make a claim for issues with the building envelope. However, other types of issues may only have a 1 year or 2 year limit to make a claim.

As soon as you start to notice issues with your property, you should take action to ensure deadlines do not get missed.

Contractors and Insurance

If you are doing a new build or renovation, typically a general contractor will have insurance in place for the length of the project, and generally for a period of time after the project is completed. Subcontractors and trades will typically have their own insurance in case there is a major defect with their work. However, construction companies and trades are susceptible to change. The longer you wait to take action, the less likely the companies and insurance policies will still be available. The more time passes, the more likely that evidence will be lost or destroyed, or memories will have faded.

Time is of the Essence

It is critically important to identify early on what parties are responsible for the issues, so that the appropriate people are put on notice in a timely way and can come to the table. Time is of the essence: the sooner you take action, the sooner you can mitigate the damage before it gets any worse.

The Langford Law Difference

Langford Law provides a bespoke construction law case management team. Our difference is our team approach, enabling our clients to save costs and streamline construction litigation. Our construction manager is available from the beginning to assist our clients and firm in identifying and understanding the defects from the outset, to get the necessary experts in place. In a typical construction case, there is a large volume of information to be reviewed and analyzed. With construction knowledge and legal expertise combined, we are able to streamline this process, saving our clients time and money.

Early on, we coordinate with experts from well respected engineering firms to drill down on the facts needed prove your case. Our construction manager also assists the experts on-site, to ensure they have all the necessary information to prepare their assessments, to oversee deconstruction and reconstruction, and to coordinate preservation of evidence. Our construction manager liaises with the homeowner to provide comprehensive attention to assist with understanding of what is happening with the law side as well as the with the evidence and remediation.

If you know there are issues, do something about it as soon as reasonably possible. Please contact us at to know your rights, responsibilities, and time limitations.