Vanessa Werden
Sonia Montes


Vanessa S. Werden is an experienced construction lawyer that advises construction and infrastructure project participants during all phases of project procurement, contracting, and construction. Vanessa has experience reviewing and negotiating all forms of standard contracts, including CCDC contracts and supplementary conditions specific to various methods of project deliver. She has also guided clients through referee processes and interim dispute resolution. Vanessa regularly acts as counsel at mediations and arbitrations. Vanessa’s experience includes the arbitration of delay, extra work and deficiency claims following the construction of hydroelectric power facilities, telecommunications infrastructure, and stadium construction litigation. Proficient at managing lengthy and complex documentation, she incorporates the most current technology to maximize efficiency in the handling of construction disputes, which are inherently document intensive.

Vanessa has significant experience in the complex area of surety bonds. Each year from 2014 to 2018, Vanessa was the guest lecturer for the lecture on surety bonds for the fourth year mandatory course “Law and Contracts in Civil Engineering” in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia. In the past five years, Vanessa has successfully advanced claims on both labour and material payment bonds and performance bonds, achieving significant payments from sureties to her clients. Vanessa has successfully advanced claims by general contractors on performance bonds as a result of subcontractor defaults on municipal infrastructure and one housing projects, achieved settlements with the sureties that resulted in a payments exceeding $500,000 in less than six months from the dates the claims were made. Vanessa has experience advancing mid-project claims, taking steps ensure that her client’s claims are preserved while the project is completed, and realizing interim payments.

Experience Highlights

  • Counsel to a contractor in an arbitration claiming delays and extra costs to construct a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure project, primarily concerning complex geotechnical conditions
  • Counsel to a First Nation owner in an arbitration to determine claims for incomplete and deficient work following the construction of a private hydroelectric power facility, and defending claims by the general contractor for unpaid invoices and extra work
  • Lead counsel for successful pre-trial business records application and member of counsel team for a major subcontractor on a complex stadium construction litigation matter, including more than 60 days of examinations for discovery on issues concerning delays, cost overruns and technical design, and construction errors and deficiencies
  • Counsel to a large North American steel fabricator in litigation over deficient roof joists following construction of a concert hall
  • Counsel to a design-builder at the mid-project referee stage concerning delay and extra work disputes during the construction of a complex hydroelectric power facility
  • Counsel to commercial fishing facility owner concerning contract drafting and negotiation with a general contractor and consultants
  • Counsel to Indigenous owners concerning procurement and project delivery for hydroelectric power facilities
  • Assistant chair of the Dispute Adjudication Board on a complex tunneling project for the construction of a hydroelectric power facility

Education & Bar Admissions

  • J.D., University of British Columbia, 2011
  • Called to the Bar of British Columbia, 2012
  • Called to the Bar of Alberta, 2015
  • Called to the Bar of Northwest Territories, 2019
  • Temporary Practice Permit, Law Society of Ontario, 2023-2024

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Ranked by Lexpert as one of five “Lawyers to Watch” in the area of Infrastructure Law in Canada (2023)
  • Ranked by Lexpert as one of the two “Leading Lawyers to Watch” in the area of construction law in British Columbia (2023)
  • Recognized as a “Stand-out Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters survey of in-house counsel (2023 and 2024)
  • Recipient of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) Community Support Award (2022)
  • On-Site Magazine Top 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction (2020)

Appointments & Activities

  • Vice Chair, BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Associate (2024-present)
  • Director, Master Municipal Construction Documents Association (2023-present)
  • Member, Regional Engineers Advisory Committee (REAC), Construction and Procurement Task Force (2022-present)
  • Founder and Chair, Women in Road Building Committee, BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association (2023)
  • Director, Board of Directors, BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association (2022-2023)
  • Co-Chair, Canadian Bar Association Construction & Infrastructure Law Conference (2023)
  • Chair, Construction Law Section, Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (2021-2023)
  • Vice chair, Construction Law, Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (2020-2021)
  • Co-editor, British Columbia Real Estate Development Practice Manual – 2021, 2022 and 2023 Updates
  • Member, Programming Advisory Committee, Buildex Vancouver 2021
  • Member, British Columbia Construction Roundtable (BCCR), Promotion, Sponsorship, and Special Events Committee (2021)
  • Past President, Canadian Construction Women (Secretary 2014-2015; Vice President, 2016-2017; President, 2018-2020)

Memberships & Associations

  • Law Society of British Columbia
  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Law Society of the Northwest Territories
  • Law Society of Ontario (Temporary Practice Permit)
  • Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch)
  • BC Road Builders & Heavy Construction Association

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • University of British Columbia, Department of Civil Engineering, Master of Engineering Leadership Program, “Complex Construction Disputes,” 2017-2024
  • Co-Chair, Canadian Bar Association Construction & Infrastructure Law Conference, October 2023
  • Buildex Vancouver, Moderator, “Construction Keynote: Critical Updates on Three Key Issues Affecting Today’s Construction Industry”, February 2023
  • Buildex Vancouver, “Tips for Dealing with Price Escalation in a Changing World”, February 2023
  • University of British Columbia, Department of Civil Engineering (CIVL425) “Case Studies of Construction Methods,” 2017-2022
  • Vancouver Regional Construction Association, Construction 101, “Builders Liens and Disputes,” 2019-2022
  • Reinforcing Steel Institute of Canada, AGM Keynote Speaker, “How industry associations can be catalysts for real change”, September 2022
  • British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA), Inside Construction Podcast, Season 2, Episode 3: “Fixed-Price Contracts in a Price-Volatile Market,” August 2022
  • Southern Interior Construction Association, 2022 CCO Workshop, “Being Proactive: Best Practices to Prevent and Manage Disputes,” April 2022
  • Vancouver Regional Construction Association, “Supplementary Conditions to CCDC Contracts – Be Afraid” Workshop, January 2022
  • Construction Law 2021, CLEBC, “Dispute Resolution Do’s and Don’ts” (with John Logan, KC), October 2021
  • BC Wall & Ceiling Association, “How to avoid disputes and dispute resolution options,” March 202
  • Buildex Vancouver, “When Trouble is (or Could Be) Brewing – the Essentials of Notice, Termination and Dispute Resolution,” February 2020
  • BC Wall & Ceiling Association, “Builders Liens,” March 2019
  • Calgary Geotechnical Society, “Consultants’ Liability for Field Review Services,” February 2018
  • University of British Columbia, Department of Civil Engineering, Legal Aspects of Engineering Practice, “Bonds, drafting and interpretation of construction contracts and delay claims,” 2014-2018
  • Canadian Construction Women, “The Nuts and Bolts of Tendering and Procurement,” May 2016
  • Buildex Vancouver, “Construction Law Update: Emerging Trends and Common Pitfalls,” February 2016