Substantial Performance

Background Information

In 2012, CANS, with broad-based industry support, put forward amendments to the Builders’ Lien Act as part of the public consultation and review. Those recommendations included:

  • The adaptation of the amendments to progressive release of holdbacks.
  • Amendments to the disbursement of finishing holdback.
  • A single-central point of publication for public notice of substantial completion.

While all three recommended amendments to the Builders’ Lien Act have now been proclaimed and take full effect at the end of this month, the third amendment was the last piece needing to be defined.

For more information about the regulatory changes to the Builders’ Lien Act, click HERE.

As of June 30, 2017, it is required by law that all contractors and buyers of construction use a single site of publication – – ensuring notice is given to parties when a contract is substantially performed and when a sub-contract is certified as complete.

Without a requirement of notice, contractors, suppliers, subcontractors and employees may not know when these critical stages have been reached, particularly if they are among those who have finished work on a project at an early stage and are no longer present to observe its progress. Notice of these milestones is important because it starts the clock running on some important time limits in the Builders’ Lien Act. Notice acts as a trigger, after a period of time with no lien registered, for release of holdbacks. In some cases, notice also starts the clock running on the time to register a lien. The regulations also clarify what should be in the notice and how and when the notice has to be published.

Under the new regulations the requirements are the same for both milestones and will:

  • Require owners to post notice in a prominent location at the job site office as well as on the publicly available portion of CANS’ website; and
  • Require that notice be provided within 10 days of the relevant milestone. was built by the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) with broad-based industry support. The centralized electronic publication site was created to benefit our economy, industry, and protect the legal rights/responsibilities of industry participants. CANS has built a site for such purposes and is committed to making it available at no charge to all users.

How To Use is extremely user friendly and self-explanatory. We have created a How-To document detailing various aspects of the site, including the definition of terms, how to create your account, view today’s notices and submit certificates of substantial completion and completion of subcontract. As you are navigating the website, you’ll notice definitions will appear if you hover over areas you need to complete, further instructing you on your next steps.

Click HERE to access the Substantial Performance website How-To document.