Lawyer, Partner - Montréal
Antoine Bigenwald, a partner and head of the firm’s construction industry group, has specialized in construction law and dispute prevention for more than 20 years. He represents all participants in the construction industry, from project owners to subcontractors, including architects, engineers, promoters, general contractors, sureties and international firm. He has considerable experience in complex litigation cases with multiple parties and lengthy trials. For the past several years, his practice has focused on claims for delays in major construction projects and their impact costs.
Antoine tales a proportionate approach to files that is commensurate with the extent of the risk. He is creative when it comes to alternative dispute-resolution solutions, and combative when it comes to asserting his clients’ rights.
University of Montréal, LLB and LLM, 1991
Université de Lille (France), undergraduate and Master’s degrees in law, 1986 and 1987
University of Warwick (England), Certificate in English Law, 1988
Rankings & Recognitions
Areas of Practice
Representative mandates involving claims for delays and impact costs
- Represented a public project contracting authority in defence against $36 million claim in connection with a major infrastructure project;
- Lengthy trial for construction professionals in defence against a contractor’s $9 million claim, which was more than the amount of the contract ($7 million);
- Represented a specialized contractor in two arbitrations concerning accelerated electrical and plumbing work during the shutdown of an ore treatment plant, against the project owner;
- Represented a subcontractor suing the general contractor for underwater work, which involved calculating productivity for divers depending on the type of underwater work performed;
- Trial regarding the prescription (time bar) of a claim for delays by a general contractor and impact costs;
- Defended a reputed firm of professionals against a claim for delays in designing an international project.
Representative mandates involving complex technical deficiencies
- Chemical engineering: defended an engineering firm faced with a problem of sudden corrosion of the chimney flue of a waste incineration plant due to a complex chemical phenomenon, in multi-party litigation including a surety being liquidated;
- Hydraulic engineering: defended an international engineering firm in a dispute concerning a backed-up pumping station causing flooding in a residential neighbourhood due to the effect of tides on the overflow mechanism;
- Structural engineering: defended a major engineering firm in a dispute concerning a large-scale and emblematic prototypical structural work with unusual requirements, involving many in-depth expert investigations;
- Underwater work: represented an underwater works enterprise involved in the refurbishment of quays in the Port of Montreal;
- Architecture: represented the largest architectural firms in Quebec in several lawsuits involving the envelope of historic and emblematic buildings, hospitals and universities.
Representative mandates defending architects and engineers against professional liability claims
- Liability for various categories of budget estimates;
- Action claiming reimbursement for change orders issued by a multidisciplinary team of Canadian and foreign professionals;
- Liability of a consortium of architects in connection with major projects;
- Represented several firms in defence against separate actions involving the specification of a defective product, and in proceedings against foreign manufacturers.
- 2019 – Analysis of General Contractors’ Claims by Construction Professionals: One Step Further Towards Confidentiality
- 2019 – New Court of Appeal Construction Law Judgment: Is Learning of the Conclusions of the Plaintiff’s Expert’s Report the New Starting Point of the Prescription Period?
- 2015 – Contractors and Construction Professionals Can Exonerate Themselves From Their Five-Year Legal Warranty
- 2015 – Recent Judgment – Managing Construction Contract Holdbacks: Knowing How Long to Hold Them and When Not to Release Them
- 2015 – New and Important Construction-Law Judgment on Claims for Delays and Impact Costs
Author of Droit de la construction au Québec, the first codification of Québec construction law, and of the section on the liability of construction contractors and professionals in the JurisClasseur Québec encyclopaedia, November 2011
- 2014 – Construction Law Conference
- 2018 – Antoine Bigenwald and Jean-François Vézina to Give a Conference Presentation on Payments in the Construction Industry and Legal Hypothecs
- 2014 – Contech Conference in Collaboration with LKD 2014
Antoine taught law at the University of Montréal for five years, and is in constant demand as a speaker at conferences on construction law. Since 2001, he gave the following conference presentations:
“Concurrent delays : an owner’s sword, shield…or land mine?”, International Association of Defence Counsels (IADC), Mid-term meeting, La Quinta (CA), February 13, 2018, Panellist with Dr Anamaria Popescu (Denver) and Thomas M. Buckley (Raleigh, NC)
“Développements récents en droit de la construction : assurances et fin de travaux” (Recent developments in construction law: insurance and completion of the work), Roundtable of School Board Lawyers, January 20, 2017
“Les 20 premières années de jurisprudence sur les nouvelles garanties légales de la construction : statu quo, évolution ou révolution?” (The first 20 years of case law on the new legal warranties in construction matters: status quo, evolution or revolution?), Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Branch, November 2016.
“Évolution du concept de surveillance et rôle de l’expert” (Development of the concept of surveillance and the role of the expert), in collaboration with architect André Gobeil, Professional Liability Fund of the Quebec Order of Architects, Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, 2016
“Contrats de construction : analyse de cas variés” (Construction contracts: various case studies), AQCS, CPSA, Bécancour, 2016
“Les réclamations pour délais et coûts d’impact” (Claims for delays and impact costs), OMHM, CSDM, CSMB, 2015-2016
“Cautionnements, échéanciers et diverses problématiques de construction” (Surety bonds, deadlines, and various other construction-related problems), Langlois Lawyers, 2016
“Le traitement des délais causés par les modifications au contrat : développements récents” (Dealing with delays caused by changes to the contract: recent developments), AEECQ, 2015
“Conférence plénière : tour d’horizon légal – étude de cas de réclamations” (Plenary Conference: Legal Overview – Claims Case Study), Contech Conference in Collaboration with LKD, September 2014
“Atelier : Architectes, ingénieurs et donneurs d’ouvrage : une boîte à outils pour vous sortir de l’une ou l’autre de ces situations délicates – 1. Décider ou recommander d’arrêter les travaux : arrêt de mort ou planche de salut? 2. La nouvelle réglementation sur l’inspection des façades : ce que vous devez savoir. 3. Pouvez-vous exiger ou refuser de signer un certificat de fin de travaux?” (Workshop: Architects, engineers and project owners: some useful tools to get you out of any of the following delicate situations – 1. Deciding or recommending that work be stopped: death sentence or lifesaver? 2. The new regulatory framework for inspecting building facades: what you need to know. 3. Can you insist on or refuse to sign a certificate of completion?) in collaboration with MP Bédard, Contech Conference in Collaboration with LKD, September 2014
“Study of five instructive claim cases, for construction professionals and project owners: what not to do, from the tendering stage to the completion of the work”, Contech General Meeting, November 2013
“The importance of the building envelope in construction-law case law,” Québec Building Envelope Council, February 2011
“Construction project managers before Quebec courts,” Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal, May 2011
“Legal warranties for major construction defects: case law trends since 2000,” Yvon Blais Construction Law Symposium, Montréal and Québec City, October 2011 and April 2012
2010 to 2015 – Chair of the board of directors of Collège international Marie-de-France in Montréal, on a volunteer basis
Vice Chair International of the Construction Committee, International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
Member of the infrastructure, transportation and logistics committee of the FCCQ
Canadian Bar Association