REALWorld Law


Other liability to end user

To what extent would an architect, another designer, the building contractor or any subcontractor have liability for any physical damage or economic loss suffered by the end-user(s) of a completed development? Can such liability be excluded in any way?



The answer to this question depends on whether the architect, other designer, building contractor, or subcontractor is in privity with the entity advancing the claim.  With the exception of builders’ liens, the answers will be the same as developer's liability to end-user explained above. 

Builders’ lien legislation provides a small measure of payment security to contractors, design consultants, subcontractors and workers even if they are not in privity of contract with the developer (for example, where a subcontractor is only in privity with a general contractor).  In such circumstances, an unpaid subcontractor can (within strict time limits) register a claim of builders’ lien against title to the property on which the project was constructed, and secure its claim to a maximum (depending upon the jurisdiction) of 10% of the value of the head contract.  However, a builders’ lien cannot be claimed on federal property given that builders lien legislation creating lien rights is within provincial jurisdiction.