Three years into the Interim Adjudication process under Part II.1 of the Construction Act, it is apparent that what was promised as a quick and dirty approach to dispute resolution is turning into a fly-by-night process that creates more problems than solutions. In this article, the author shares his thoughts on some of these problems.
Contrary to the commercial construction industry, in which prevenient agreements and purchase orders may be sufficient to govern the relationship between parties, contracts in residential construction must be formal in order to protect homeowners. Particularly, the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 has been deemed to apply to residential construction and renovation agreements.
In Ontario and other common-law jurisdictions, legal disputes are subject to what is known as an “adversarial” process. Many lawyers take this approach too close to heart. While lawyers may be skeptical of ADR, perhaps we should begin relationships with opposing counsel from a position of trust rather than combat.
Although construction lien proceedings do not extend the same rights as ordinary proceedings, the Construction Act allows claimants to demand information pursuant to Section 39. The Act extends a similar fact-finding ability to Owners/Contractors/other Defendants through a cross-examination of the lien claimant on the contents of their lien by way of Section 40.