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Northern British Columbia is booming! The approval of the Site C Dam, construction of a $2.5 billion dollar gas refinery near Chetwynd, Shells Carmon Creek heavy oil project and infrastructure upgrades at Peace River are just a few of the exciting developments underway. With all the work opportunities for those in construction sometimes comes the necessity of enforcing contractual agreements in order to collect for work done. This is where builders liens can be beneficial.

Knowing when to use a builders lien

A builders lien is a document that secures a claim for payment for work done by suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, workers, or engineers in construction. When a lien is registered in the Land Title Office, it will then be a charge against the title to the land or property involved. This means that until the lien is discharged, the property owner may have difficulty in selling the property, renewing mortgages or obtaining mortgages on the property. Also, if the debt remains unpaid, the party filing the lien can bring an action in the BC Supreme Court for breach of contract and potentially force the sale of the property in order to collect the money owed.

BC Builders Lien Act

The law governing builders liens is the BC Builders Lien Act (the Act). The Act sets out deadlines, rights and obligations of parties to actions involving builders liens. In order to file a lien, a claimant must fill out a Claim of Lien and file it in the Land Title Office where the land is registered. It is imperative to complete the form accurately. Otherwise the lien can be declared defective and cancelled.

Timing is also very important in filing builders liens. While, in the interests of maintaining a good work relationship, a claimant may want to give the other party ample time to pay for the work done; if the claimant waits too long, they may lose their right to do so. Deadlines set out in the Act are strict. Courts cannot grant extensions.

After the lien is registered on the property title, a claimant must bring legal action in the B.C. Supreme Court and file a certificate of pending litigation (CPL) against the property in the Land Title Office. If this action is not taken within one year of filing the lien, the lien will no longer be valid.

The area of law pertaining to builders liens can extremely complex for the layperson. The requirements and remedies discussed here are but a few of those claimants may encounter when dealing with builders liens. The legal team at MacLean Law will answer questions claimants have or provide legal representation for claimants through the legal process.

For all your construction, energy and resource legal requirements please call MacLean Law at 250 262 5052.