Martin Pykalo Architect

How to Hire a Contractor in British Columbia – Part One: Are you Covered?

Hiring a contractor to construct your project is a great milestone. At this stage all documentation, such as drawings, specifications, and other contract conditions are complete and ready to be bid on.

However, before bidding there are several issues that need to be considered. In this part of my “How to Hire a Contractor in British Columbia” series we will discuss the legislation around WorksafeBC insurance coverage.

WorksafeBC insurance coverage protects both workers and the employers who pay the premiums. It is a no-fault system which means that insured parties are indemnified for losses no matter who is at fault. In most cases employers (or project owners) are required to carry this coverage by law.

Under its coverage employers are protected from lawsuits while workers are eligible for benefits if they suffer a work related injury. Conversely, if the owner does not carry registered coverage they will likely face WorksafeBC coming after them for the costs of all benefits if a worker suffers an injury while working on their project. A very serious repercussion that has been known to lead to home owners losing their houses.

Usually, project owners will retain the services of a contracting company. In such cases this company will be responsible for securing the required WorksafeBC insurance coverage. Here the owner is obliged to make certain that coverage exists by obtaining the contractor’s WorksafeBC number as well as copies of the WorksafeBC clearance letter for each premium period. Contractors usually submit clearance letters with their monthly progress payment claims but this needs to be called for in the project contract documents.

In situations where the contractor fails to provide coverage the onus falls on the owner to fulfill these requirements.

On small residential projects, where the owner employs individuals or independent businesses directly to perform work on their homes, they are responsible to provide coverage. Please check the exact requirements with WorksafeBC.

 

Coming up:

Part Two: Qualities to Look For

 

References:

WorksafeBC About Insurance: http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/about_insurance/default.asp

WorksafeBC Do you need coverage page: http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/

WorksafeBC Homeowners and Renters: http://www.worksafebc.com/insurance/need_coverage/homeowners/default.asp

 

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Private school project in Maple Ridge BC that I worked on in 2007 with Atelier Pacific Architecture and ABBARCH Architecture

Why are Letters of Assurance mandated by the British Columbia Building Code?

Many clients and individuals in the building industry ask this question.

Quite simply, Letters of Assurance are documents that clearly identify legal responsibilities of key project members such as the Owner, the Architect and the Engineers. Their key function is to assure that these individuals fulfill all relevant requirements of the building code through a compliant design as well as field review verification during construction.
In general these requirements apply to all buildings except for simple Part 9 structures such as homes.
The British Columbia Building Code (as well as the Vancouver Building Bylaw) ascribes the following letters of assurance:

Schedule A (British Columbia Building Code & Vancouver Building Bylaw):
Owner’s confirmation that they have retained a Coordinating Registered Professional who will coordinate the Design and Field Review of Registered Professionals of Record to assure compliance with the Building Code. The Coordinating Registered Professional is to ascertain which Registered Professionals of Record are required on the project and to initial their Schedule B’s

Schedule B (British Columbia Building Code) (in Vancouver Building Bylaw known as Schedule B-1):
Each Registered Professional of Record completes this schedule for their own discipline assuring that the Design will comply with the Building Code and that they will perform Field Reviews to assure compliance. Schedule B includes lists of tasks for each professional category.

Schedule B-2 (Vancouver Building Bylaw):
Lists of tasks for each professional category from Schedule B under separate cover.

Schedule C-A (British Columbia Building Code & Vancouver Building Bylaw):
Submitted right before the Occupancy Permit is issued. Confirms Coordinating Registered Professional’s assurance that they have fulfilled their commitment under Schedule A.

Schedule C-B (British Columbia Building Code & Vancouver Building Bylaw):
Submitted right before the Occupancy Permit is issued. Confirms Each Registered Professional of Record’s assurance that they have fulfilled their commitments under Schedule B.

Schedule D-1 (Vancouver Building Bylaw):
Confirmation of commitment for Building Envelope Professional Review by a Building Envelope Professional. These services may (usually) be required by the VANCOUVER BUILDING BYLAW.

Schedule D-2 (Vancouver Building Bylaw):
Submitted right before the Occupancy Permit is issued. Confirms completion of Building Envelope Professional Review per commitment established in Schedule D-1.

Schedule S-B (AIBC and APEGBC):
Submitted by the Supporting Registered Professionals to the Registered Professionals of Record prior to the submission of Schedule B documents to the authority having jurisdiction.

Schedule S-C (AIBC and APEGBC):
Submitted by the Supporting Registered Professionals to the Registered Professionals of Record prior to the submission of Schedule C-B documents to the authority having jurisdiction.

 

Definitions:

Coordinating Registered Professional:
A Registered Professional (Architect or Engineer) retained by the Owner to coordinate all design work and field reviews of the Registered Professionals required on the project. Also, the Coordinating Registered Professional determines the individual disciplines of the required Registered Professionals on the project.

Registered Professional of Record:
A person who is licensed to practice as an Architect or Professional Engineer in British Columbia. They are retained to perform the design work and field reviews pertaining to their specialty on the project.

Building Envelope Professional:
An Architect or Professional Engineer who is competent, by virtue of their education and experience, to provide enhanced building envelope services and whose practices are focused accordingly.

Supporting Registered Professional:
A Registered Professional usually retained by the contractor to perform design work and field review to a portion of the project that was called to be designed by the contractor in the construction contract.

 

Reference Material:

Letters of Assurance Documents:  http://www.bccodes.ca/letters-of-assurance.aspx?vid=QPLEGALEZE:bccodes_2012_view

Guide to Letters of Assurance: http://www.bccodes.ca/2006guideloa.pdf

AIBC Guide to Schedules S-B and S-C: AIBC/APEGBC Practice Note 16: Professional Design and Field …

 

____ 1 FORM 2014 03 18 QMS Provincial Assurance Letter Reference

Inter-Provincial Letter of Assurance Reference Matrix

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog. I plan to use this space to explain the inner workings of practicing the architectural profession in British Columbia Canada while also attempting to clarify the many misperceptions that architects face every day. My wish is to be clear and brief in conveying the key issues that clients, contractors, consultants and architects encounter while working on a project. I plan to discuss many varying topics including design, business, financial, logistic, administrative and legal issues. I will try to be brief and to the point and to make my posts entertaining – if that is possible given the subject matter!

I hope you find some of my work helpful and hope you enjoy the upcoming discussions. Also, please feel free to comment, share and ask questions. I promise to remain transparent and accessible.

Thank you,

Martin Pykalo, Architect AIBC

 

540 Granville St., my first built project in Vancouver and also my first assignment at ABBARCH Architectuere. It was completed in 2009.

540 Granville St., my first built project in Vancouver and also my first assignment at ABBARCH Architecture. It was completed in 2009.