Casual Legal: Changes to the new PPCLA

By Mikkel Arnston
Reynolds Mirth Richards Farmer LLP
Alberta Municipalities Casual Legal Service Provider 

The new Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act (PPCLA) that came into force in late August 2022 introduces new lien timelines: a new lien period for certain concrete work, a new stream of adjudication and dispute resolution and other changes that will impact municipalities involved in construction contracts. There are a number of new processes and changes to the existing lien principles for municipalities to bear in mind; the one highlighted in this article is the new treatment of architects and engineers.

Under the predecessor legislation, certain work performed by engineers or architects in relation to an improvement could give rise to a lien but was generally assessed on a case-by-case basis specific to each set of facts.

The new legislation and its regulations have expressly added engineers and architects as a class of potential lienholders. For municipalities, this means a holdback should also be maintained to comply with the terms of the PPCLA for contracts with engineers or architects acting in a consulting role in respect of an improvement to lands.

Professionals acting in consultative capacity

35   For the purpose of section 70(a)(i) of the Act, the Act applies to the following persons contracted to act in a consultative capacity in respect of an improvement:

(a)    a regulated professional engineer;

(b)    a regulated professional architect.

This may be a departure from past practices and what occurred under the previous legislation. The new PPCLA expressly applies to architects and engineers. This means municipalities should carefully consider if their consulting contracts comply with the PPCLA.

To access Alberta Municipalities Casual Legal Helpline, Alberta Municipalities members can call toll-free to 1-800-661-7673 or send an casuallegal [at] (email) to reach the municipal legal experts at Reynolds Mirth Richards and Farmer LLP. For more information on the Casual Legal Service, please call 310-MUNI (6864) or send an riskcontrol [at] (email) to Alberta Municipalities' Risk Management staff. Any Regular or Associate member of Alberta Municipalities can access the Casual Legal Service.

DISCLAIMER: This article is meant to provide information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. You should seek the advice of legal counsel to address your specific set of circumstances. Although every effort has been made to provide current and accurate information, changes to the law may cause the information in this article to be outdated.