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June 15, 2009

Engineering association urges ‘vigilance’ on contract terms

OTTAWA

The Association of Canadian Engineering Companies (ACEC) has cautioned its members to be “vigilant” when it comes to contract language on projects financed in part under the stimulus funds unveiled in the 2009 federal budget.

In an advisory to member firms, president Jeff Morrison said concerns have been raised in some circles that clients might insert provisions that would shift risk for failure to meet the March 31, 2011 deadline onto the consulting engineering firm.

“There have been no recorded instances of such language appearing as of yet,” Morrison said. “However, ACEC member firms should remain vigilant of any language appearing in stimulus-funded project contracts that shifts risk for failure to meet the completion deadline onto the consulting engineer.

“If such language does appear, we would ask you to please advise ACEC.”

Morrison said member firms proactively might wish to recommend language within the contract that protects the consulting engineer from liability in the event that these projects are not completed by the specified deadline.

Morrison also said the federal government has “hinted” that there may be penalties introduced for municipalities that fail to meet the March 31, 2011 deadlines. No specific announcements have been made yet on this issue, he said.

The government has made it clear that the deadline will not be extended.

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