R Bruce Reynolds
Office:
150 King Street West
Suite 2512 .PO Box 24
M5H 1J9
City:
Toronto
State:
Ontario
Country:
Canada

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: Construction

Bruce Reynolds chairs the international construction projects group in Singleton Urquhart Reynolds’s Toronto office. He has been ranked as the Global Construction Lawyer of the Year by Who’s Who Legal. Bruce specialises in the litigation, arbitration and mediation of construction claims, construction liens, surety bond claims, construction insurance claims, product liability; and architects’ and engineers’ E&O; as well as in the drafting and negotiating of contracts for major industrial and infrastructure projects including public private partnerships, and construction, engineering, architectural equipment supply and technology licensing contracts.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER SPECIALISING IN CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES?

In the mid-to-late 1980s, when specialisation was in its infancy in Canada, a group of lawyers across the country self-identified as experts in construction law. At BLG, the realisation coincided with our work as co-counsel for Dominion Bridge on the SkyDome litigation – then the largest construction dispute in Canada.

FOLLOWING AN ACT TO AMEND THE CONSTRUCTION LIEN ACT (BILL 142), WHICH YOU HELPED TO BRING INTO BEING, WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR CONSTRUCTION LIENS IN CANADA?

The most significant aspects of Bill 142 are those that introduce promptness of payment and adjudication into Canada. Generally it is to be anticipated that these aspects will make their way across Canada, and that, ideally, the lien remedy will no longer need to be resorted to at the same level of intensity as in the past.

TO WHAT EXTENT DID PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS ALTER THE PLAYING FIELD FOR CONSTRUCTION LAWYERS?

Canada has largely embraced public-private partnerships (P3s) as the favoured delivery system for infrastructure renewal, and has evolved an impressive track record of project delivery over the past 25 years. A significant aspect of the success of P3 projects in Canada is found in the limited degree to which these projects give rise to significant disputes, at least from the public dispute resolution perspective. This is not to say that disputes do not arise in the P3 space; but the vast majority are negotiated to resolution. Regarding procurement, the template documents used, for example, in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, generated a high degree of solicitors’ work in their formative stages, but, the “front end” work associated with the projects has become limited, from a legal perspective. The major private-sector participants in the P3 market have also built strong in-house legal teams, which in many instances handle almost the entirety of project documentation.

TO WHAT EXTENT HAS ARBITRATION BECOME THE PREFERRED METHOD OF RESOLVING CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES?

Interestingly, arbitration is not the favoured dispute resolution mechanism for the majority of construction disputes in Canada. To an extent, this is attributable to the fact that, in the event of a significant project disruption, subcontractors initiate hostilities by invoking their lien rights, which has the effect of impleading all levels of project participants in the resulting lien action.

IS SETTLING NOW MORE FAVOURABLE THAN LITIGATING?

Litigation of a major construction dispute is extremely time-consuming and expensive. Where the amounts in issue, and the legal dividing lines between the parties, are not platform-threatening, mediation has become the favoured method of dispute resolution in Canada.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST INTERESTING MATTER YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

The opportunity to work for the Province of Ontario in regard to the Construction Lien Act review has certainly been among the most fascinating retainers of my career.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

I was proud to be recently named (along with my partner Sharon Vogel) one of the most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING CONSTRUCTION LAWYERS?

Develop a strong expertise in the law and the practice of contracts and legislative interpretation. Seek out a mentor with an active practice, and a strong commitment to the speciality of construction law. 

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Canada - Construction

Bruce Reynolds, FCIArb, is a partner in the construction and infrastructure group in the Toronto office of Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP. He was recognised as construction lawyer of the year by Who’s Who Legal; the directory calls him “one of the best-regarded lawyers internationally - he is lauded for both his disputes work and his drafting and negotiation of construction contracts”. He focuses his practice on both the contentious and non-contentious aspects of construction, insurance, and surety law. He is a co-author of Scott and Reynolds on Surety Bonds (Carswell);Construction, Builders and Mechanics’ Liens in Canada, seventh edition (Carswell); and A Guide to Canadian Construction Insurance Law (Carswell). He acted as counsel for the Ontario government to conduct a review of the Construction Lien Act.

Mr Reynolds is former co-chair of the international construction projects committee of the International Bar Association; programme coordinator of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers; a past governor of the American College of Construction Lawyers, an elite membership of top US construction lawyers; and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is a past member of the executive of the Canadian Bar Association construction law section. He was an executive of the construction law section of the Ontario Bar Association, and was its chair for two terms. He is also a former vice chair of the fidelity and surety law committee of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) torts and insurance practice section. He is, as well, a member of ABA’s forum on the construction industry.

Mr Reynolds was a founding fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. He has served on the board of governors of the college, and is a past president. He was named Toronto Construction Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers. He is listed in Chambers Global (Band 1, construction law), Canadian Who’s WhoBest Lawyers in Canada, and the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. He is also listed in Martindale-Hubbell as AV Preeminent. Recently, Mr Reynolds was the recipient of the Benchmark Canada Construction Litigator of the Year Award as well as the Toronto Construction Associations’ Donald P Giffin, Sr Construction Industry Achievement Award. The latter award is presented to individuals who have benefited the construction industry through major contributions to its progress and development. Those considered for the award are distinguished by the exemplary dedication and leadership they have shown in pursuing the construction industry's common goals and interests. He has also been named an Acritas Star.

WWL says: Bruce Reynolds is one of Canada's most esteemed and impressive legal minds; he is a leader in the construction disputes space.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Canada which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Construction: Lawyers

Bruce Reynolds is co-chair of international construction projects group at Singleton Reynolds and a partner in the firm’s construction and infrastructure practice group.

He is highly specialised in the resolution of construction claims, liens, surety bond claims, insurance claims, product liability issues, and architects’ and engineers’ E&O issues, as well as project procurement and contracts for industrial and infrastructure projects such as public private partnerships and construction, engineering, architectural and equipment supply contracts.

Bruce is a certified specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Ontario. He is a fellow of both the Canadian and American Colleges of Construction Lawyers and is a past co-chair of the international construction projects committee of the International Bar Association. He currently serves as programme chair of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers.

Bruce served as counsel for the Ontario Government in conducting the first comprehensive review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act in 34 years and, along with co-counsel Sharon Vogel, delivered a 300-page report, Striking the Balance: Expert Review of the Construction Lien Act. Together with Sharon, Bruce then worked closely with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General to draft Bill 142, which included 98 out of the 101 recommendations presented in their report, including recommendations for the introduction of prompt payment and adjudication legislation for the first time in Canada. Bill 142 (An Act to Amend the Construction Lien Act) was unanimously passed in the Ontario Legislative Assembly and received Royal Assent in December 2017.

Over the same period, Bruce acted as lead counsel on two ICC mining arbitrations, served as the president of an ICC panel arbitrating a major dispute in respect of a gas-fired turbine project, and acted as lead counsel in the renegotiation of two major contracts for a massive hydro-electric project.

Currently, Bruce and Sharon have been retained to act for the Government of Canada to conduct a review of federal legislation on the issues of prompt payment and adjudication for federal construction projects.

WWL says: R Bruce Reynolds is one of the leading figures both nationally and internationally on the resolution of construction claims and is recognised by peers as “an excellent lawyer” who is “the best of the bunch”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Construction which can be purchased from our Shop.

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