PR21S/Shutterstock.comA cautionary tale from Alberta's highest court

By Jason E. Roberts, Fillmore Riley LLP

Limitation of liability clauses are often found in con- struction contracts. These clauses generally serve to limit the amount payable as damages by a party in the event of faulty design or workmanship on its part.

However, the recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Swift v. Tomecek Roney Little & Associates Ltd. signals that parties to construction contracts should exercise caution when relying on limitation of liability clauses.

The facts of the case are reasonably straightforward and, although they involve the construction of a single-family home, there is no reason to suggest that the principles set out by the court would be inapplicable to other types of construction contracts. Mr. and Mrs. Swift owned land on Vancouver Island, on which they planned to build a home. Mr. Swift entered into an agreement with an architectural firm (the “Architects”) to design the home (the “Agreement”). The Agreement contained a limitation of liability clause, which protected the “Architects (referred to in the Agreement as the “Designer”)”:

Ratch/Shutterstock.comAn employee rewards and recognition program in your workplace has a positive impact on your bottom line

By Barbara Bowes, Legacy Bowes Group

For several years, baby boomer retirement issues were identified as the top priority in many human resource surveys. Today, the issue of employee engagement is taking over the primary lead. In fact, one survey reports that 94 per cent of participants identified employee engagement as their most important workforce challenge. 

Yet, what is employee engagement and why should Piling Canada readers be concerned? Employee engagement refers to whether or not employees have a positive or negative approach to their work and whether or not employees are willing and/or not willing to perform at their best in ways that further benefit their employer. The reason for concern is that employee engagement has a direct impact on business success and profitability.

Courtesy of M. Johnston Construction, Ltd.M. Johnston Construction, Ltd. always comes up with something to win the job

By Barb Feldman

M. Johnston Construction Ltd. is an industrial and civil contractor specializing in pile driving and foundation construction, bridge construction, maintenance and repair, bridge and mat rentals, industrial steel installation and removal, resource roads and industrial site work. The company is based in Cranbrook, B.C., with a yard in nearby Galloway and a separate avalanche consulting division in Squamish, B.C.

A proactive approach to environmental protection
The family-run business was begun by Mike Johnston and incorporated in 1978.

“Today, a number of employees are also shareholders,” said engineer Monte Johnston, Mike’s son, who began driving a backhoe as a teenager for his family’s company more than a decade ago. The company employs seven people full-time as project managers, supervisors and operators and relies on a core of up to 25 seasonal workers, providing a wide range of services, from small bridge repairs to multi-million dollar contracts, to clients across British Columbia and in Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Many projects are located in remote or rural locations, says Johnston, and most are in environmentally sensitive areas, often near fish-bearing creeks and rivers. Environmental professionals are called upon as needed to develop job-specific construction environmental management plans and to provide onsite assistance, and the company takes a proactive approach to environmental protection and has never had a major environmental incident.

Courtesy of Deep Foundations Contractors, Inc.As a leader in Canada's foundation contracting industry, Deep Foundations installs all major types of piles, but its strength has always been its people

By Lisa Kopochinski

A staple of Canada’s foundation contracting industry for more than four decades, Deep Foundations Contractors Inc. has definitely achieved its original vision many times over: to become an innovative corporation with the most modern, well-maintained equipment and a highly skilled and motivated workforce.

Diversified in its offerings, the company installs all types of foundation piles and excavation shoring, including secant pile walls, soldier piles and lagging, driven piles, caissons, micro piles, sheet pile walls, continuous flight auger piles, soil nailing, access shafts and helical piles/screw piles.

Formed in 1971 by David Miller and Bill Lardner (who both left senior positions with an international foundation company), the two partners started their first project – a pipeline installation in Ingersoll, Ont. – out of Miller’s basement. The company would later become the first in Canada to install secant piles as a water cutoff wall, and also the first to bring hydraulic drill rigs to the country, which are now an industry standard.

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About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.