Contractors and subcontractors…read your drawings!

Date: September 2022

I often counter encounter contractors and subcontractors that (1) fail to properly review drawings to ensure that they understand the scope of their work and (2) fail to utilize the drawings to identify areas of a project where damage could occur as a result of their work (such as with electrical lines etc.).

A recent Superior Court of Justice trial decision from Associate Justice Master Wiebe, demonstrated the importance of reading and understanding project drawings and specifications when completing work on a project.

In this case, a demolition subcontractor sued a contractor for non-payment. However, the contractor sought to setoff and counterclaimed against the demolition subcontractor for unintended damage it caused during demolition.

Among several other reasons, Associate Justice Wiebe found that the demolition subcontractor failed to meet the standard of care of an experienced and prudent subcontractor doing similar work on other projects and was negligent because it failed to properly examine all of the drawings concerning the area of the project that it had damaged.

Associate Justice Wiebe also found that there was contributory negligence on the part of the contractor for failing to meet its duty of care in performing its duties of management and coordination of the project as reflected in the subcontract.

In any event, the contractors set-off claim and counterclaim was successful and instead of recovering amounts for work completed, the demolition subcontractor was forced to pay the contractor nearly $400k.

Check your drawings and understand the duty of care owed on a project – especially when there is potential for serious undesired damage to a property.Click here for a link to the decision.

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