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Construction Law/Is a lien appropriate for our situation?


We provided an estimate to complete block work and concrete floor on estimate we stated the price was based on grade of floor being prepared level. We are located in Ontario Canada. Block work was completed and paid for. General contractor running the job said  floor was 90% ready to be poured. We ordered material (concrete) and proceeded to the job intending to complete prep and the place and finish floor. When we arrived on site the preparation was 25% complete not the 90% we had been told. Wedding not have time to complete preparation and finish. We called and cancelled the material but it was on its way so it must be paid for. We told homeowner what happened and he refused to pay for materials. General contractor refuses to pay for materials. Would it be appropriate to place a lien on property?

Dear Michelle Keetch,

A lien could be an appropriate solution.  It seems to me that the main contractor was at fault by giving you inaccurate information and thus the homeowner's reluctance to pay is understandable.  If you cannot resolve your dispute with the main contractor, with or without legal support, then a lien is your only course of action.  Be careful of legal support as the attorney will want paying, whether or not you win your case and whether or not the loser pays their debt to you.  I would suggest the small claims court or equivalent.  Generally the court officials are very helpful.  Another route is asking for advice from the better business bureau or equivalent.

In any case make sure that you have better and clearer protection on your next contract.  

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Peter M. Elliott


First response to queries regarding extensions of time, variations orders, site instructions and payment using FIDIC and other forms of Conditions of Contract, based on English Law, and derivatives only. Anyone who needs advice about EoT should download and study the SCL Delay & Disruption Protocol before submitting a question.


Value . . .
It's unwise to pay too much, but it's unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it's well to add something for the risk you run.
And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.
. . . John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
"We are too poor to buy something cheap"
.Romanian Proverb 2002
A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit. George Herbert (English poet 1593-1633)
I said it in Hebrew, I said it in Dutch,
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!" Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Caroll
Match your presentation to the reader!
The joy of food lasts but an hour, of sleep but a day, of a woman, but a month, but the joy of a building lasts a lifetime. Syrian proverb.
Comments and observations leading to improvements in the translation of FIDIC Red & Yellow books into Romanian prior to approval by FIDIC (reference 'Preface to the Romanian edition')

Institution of Civil Engineers, Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants, Society of Construction Law, Dispute Resolution Board Foundation

B Sc(Hons) in Civil Engineering

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