Our Construction Group

The construction lawyers at JSS Barristers offer a full range of services to the construction industry. We are regularly involved with owners, contractors, developers, construction professionals, trades and suppliers. We routinely act in courts across Western Canada, and in arbitrations, mediations, and negotiations, to resolve construction disputes of all kinds. We are often retained as counsel, but given the prevalence of alternative dispute resolution in the construction field, some of our lawyers are also appointed as arbitrator or mediator.

Construction disputes commonly involve significant stakes. Regardless of how large the amount in dispute might be, whether a resolution is satisfactory will depend not just on the ultimate outcome, but also on the time and cost incurred through the dispute process. Given that construction disputes often involve numerous parties, complex technical issues, and voluminous project records, experience is necessary for the efficient and effective management of construction disputes. Our construction lawyers have a wealth of experience and knowledge that we bring and apply to construction disputes, which allows us to focus on the real issues and achieve cost-effective results.

In some instances, the best outcome must take into account a variety of factors, including any larger and long-term valuable relationships, the relative costs and benefits of particular disputes or issues within a dispute, and the importance of the principles and reputations involved. We actively explore and listen to our clients' goals for the direct and indirect considerations at play, and then take those goals into account in how we assertively advocate our clients' positions.

Construction-related issues including:

  • Delay claims
  • Extras claims
  • Impact claims
  • Cost overruns
  • Loss of profit
  • Breach of contract and negligence claims
  • Issues with:
    • Design
    • Engineering
    • Procurement
    • Project execution
    • Project management
    • Workmanship
  • Termination and suspension provisions
  • Builders' liens
  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Stepped dispute resolution clauses

Examples of construction project disputes:

  • Oil sands
  • Oil and gas pipelines and facilities
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Infrastructure projects
  • Buildings

Some of Our Recent Work

  • Husky Oil Operations Limited ("Husky" ) v. Ledcor Industries Limited: counsel for Husky in nine-week long trial (2003 ABQB 751)and an appeal (2006 ABCA 122) regarding cost overruns and delays on the construction of a 62 kilometre sour gas pipeline loop in Alberta. The major legal issue was the effect of a verbal change in the governing contract from lump sum/fixed price to a cost-plus basis.
  • Johns Manville et al ("JM") v VECO Corporation: counsel for JM in extraordinarily fast-tracked arbitration proceedings involving highly technical and factually complex delay, cost overrun, and lost profits claims totaling approximately USD$30million, arising out of the construction of a fiberglass manufacturing facility. There was a six-month start-to-finish period, from the date on which the arbitrator was appointed to the closing day of verbal argument at the six-week long hearing involving 25 fact and expert witnesses and overtime sitting hours per day.
  • Represented a leading architectural firm against whom a claim was made by the owners of one of Calgary's iconic buildings as a result of alleged cost over-runs. The matter was ultimately resolved through a negotiated settlement.
  • Acted for the plaintiff, an international energy owner, in a $92 million dispute (17 separate actions), regarding the engineering and construction of a multibillion dollar oil sands mine and upgrader. The matter was ultimately resolved through mediation.
  • City of Richmond v. Johns Manville et al: counsel for JM in defending a claim regarding the roof for the speed skating oval constructed in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
  • AREVA Resources Canada Inc v WorleyParsons Canada Services Ltd ("WorleyParsons" ): counsel for WorleyParsons in defending a $25 million claim for alleged breaches of contract and negligence arising from cost estimating and engineering work for a uranium mine expansion project in northern Saskatchewan.
  • MEG Energy Corp v WorleyParsons et al: counsel for WorleyParsons in defending a $5 million claim arising from a tank explosion at an oilsands facility in northern Alberta, involving multiple parties.
  • Associated Asbestos Services Ltd. v. Nexen Inc.: counsel for Nexen in arbitral and related court proceedings regarding the demolition of a gas plant owned by Nexen in Alberta.
  • Various force majeure disputes involving tens of millions of dollars for Buyers under Power Purchase Arrangements in the Alberta power industry, involving technical issues regarding the construction of power plants and whether the cause and duration of plant outages were beyond the reasonable control of the Owner.
  • Representing an entity that entered into a long term contract with a government to design, build, finance, operate, maintain, and rehabilitate a major highway. In turn, that entity entered into subcontracts for various aspects of the primary contract including construction and maintenance, leading to a complex series of litigation and arbitration proceedings claiming many millions of dollars as a result of alleged failures by the subcontractors.
  • Acted for an owner (in an arbitration), in a dispute with a civil works contractor over the construction of a power facility.
  • Successfully resolving a $6 million builders' lien claim for an oilfield construction company at a northern Alberta oil sands facility.
  • Early successful resolution of a dispute on behalf of a major supplier for an oilsands project that was cancelled, having regard to the cancellation costs provisions in the governing agreement.
  • Counsel to a group of condominium owners in a claim against the condominium developer for construction deficiencies, which was successfully resolved.
  • Acted for the owners of a condominium project with construction and building envelope deficiencies.
  • Appointments as sole arbitrator or as member of a tribunal in a variety of confidential industrial, commercial, and residential construction disputes.

Our Team

Erin J. Baker

Erin J. BakerErin J. Baker is a Partner at JSS Barristers. Erin's practice focuses solely on civil litigation and she has extensive experience representing a wide range of both individual and corporate clients. Erin has appeared numerous times at the Provincial and Superior Court levels in Alberta and British Columbia, including the Court of Appeal of Alberta. In addition, Erin has extensive experience with large scale, highly technical and document-intensive domestic and international multi-party arbitrations, as well as with multi-party mediations. Erin has considerable experience managing large scale litigation and arbitration matters involving multiple in house counsel, business groups and external counsel.
Read Erin's full bio »

Bryan C. Duguid QC, FCIArb

Bryan C. Duguid QC, FCIArbBryan obtained his business degree from the University of Regina along with the University Prize for the highest average marks in the faculty. In 1992, he obtained his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, and began his legal career by articling in Calgary with a major international law firm, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. After 5½ years as an associate, he was a Blakes partner for 10 years. As of January 1, 2009, Bryan joined Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP, was its Managing Partner for 2013 and 2014, and since then has been the Firm Chairperson.
Read Bryan's full bio »

Contact Erin J. Baker

  • 403-571-0744

Contact Bryan C. Duguid QC, FCIArb

  • 403-571-0746

Kajal Ervin

Kajal ErvinKajal Ervin joined JSS Barristers in July 2008 after having completed her articles with Alberta Justice where she had the opportunity to advocate in a number of areas of litigation, including criminal prosecutions, civil litigation and family law. However, her interests focused on civil litigation and she joined JSS Barristers and was shortly thereafter called to the Alberta Bar in August 2008. In 2007, Kajal obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alberta. During her time in the Faculty of Law, Kajal volunteered with Student Legal Services, with a focus on legal education for the public. She also held a position as a research assistant with the Alberta Law Reform Institute, where she participated in the Rules of Court Project. Read Kajal's full bio »

Robert J. Hawkes QC

Robert J. Hawkes QC Robert J. Hawkes is a third generation Calgarian. From 1983 through 1987 Robert studied Philosophy at the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan. In 1987 he went to work for the Government of Canada in a variety of capacities, including senior policy advisor and political advisor to the Minister of Finance. In 1990 Robert returned to Calgary and entered law school at the University of Calgary, where he obtained his LL.B. in 1993. .Read Robert's full bio »

Contact Kajal Ervin

  • 403-571-0745

Contact Robert J. Hawkes QC

  • 403-571-1544

Gavin Price

Gavin Price Gavin received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (Zoology) from the University of Calgary in 1997. He then attended the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary, graduating in 2001. Upon graduation, Gavin clerked at the Court of Appeal and the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Following his clerkship, Gavin completed his articles at the Calgary offices of a large national law firm, practicing in securities and regulatory matters. He was called to the Alberta Bar in 2002. Gavin joined JSS Barristers in 2003, commencing a full time litigation practice, and became a Partner in 2010. Read Gavin's full bio »

Sabri Shawa, QC

Sabri Shawa, QCWith his extensive experience as a distinguished arbitrator and mediator, Sabri has developed a nuanced understanding of advocacy from the perspectives of both the advocate and the decision-maker. Sabri understands that you do not have a winning case until you have a persuasive answer to your opponent's best argument. Sabri is a crystal clear, no-nonsense communicator who inspires decision makers to take his side. Sabri is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is recognized in multiple publications in the areas of arbitration, dispute resolution, mediation, energy and resource law, and regulatory proceedings. Read Sabri's full bio »

Contact Gavin Price

  • 403-571-0747

Contact Sabri Shawa, QC

  • 403-571-1527

Andrew Wilson

Andrew WilsonAndrew received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Waterloo in 1998, where he achieved Dean's List standing. He then obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax in 2001. He again achieved Dean's List standing and was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards. Upon graduation, Andrew clerked at the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, completing his articles at Bennett Jones. This experience has given Andrew a unique insight into how judges assess the matters that come before them, an insight he has incorporated into his practice. Read Andrew's full bio »

Geoffrey Boddy

Geoffrey Boddy Geoff grew up in Edmonton, Alberta where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree (honours) and Master of Science degree (Neuroscience) from the University of Alberta in 1999 and 2002 respectively. While completing his studies, he had the opportunity to work as a child support worker for the Edmonton Women's Shelter, volunteer on the Province's 100th Anniversary Strategy Committee, and teach undergraduate students introductory cell biology. In 2001, Geoff received a certificate of excellence in teaching. Read Geoffrey's full bio »

Contact Andrew Wilson

  • 403-571-1058

Contact Geoffrey Boddy

  • 403-571-0739

Ryan Phillips

Ryan Phillips Ryan joined JSS Barristers in 2014. He practices in most areas of civil litigation and administrative law, focusing on corporate, commercial, and contract litigation, professional negligence, employment, privacy and access to information, construction, insurance, defamation, personal injury, and judicial review. Ryan represents individuals, companies, tribunals and non-profits. He acts for the Alberta Lawyers Insurance Association in defence of professional negligence claims and on coverage issues.
Read Ryan's full bio »


Contact Ryan Phillips

  • 403-571-1061