Photo of Professionals at McConnell Wagner Sykes + Stacey PLLC

Understanding delay claims and construction law

Yours would not be an isolated case if you were to say that you had scheduled professional work on your home or business at one time or another, and there were setbacks or delays in the plan. Countless issues can cause obstacles that affect the completion of a project. There’s a category of construction law known as “delay claims,” which deals with various types of delays, some compensable, some not.  

A compensable delay would mean that the contractor had a right to an extension or compensation. You must prove certain elements to gain a favorable ruling in a delay claim. This post provides information to help you learn more about delay claims and construction law so that you can protect your interests if a problem arises regarding a construction contract you have signed.  

A delay claim might pertain to an issue that impeded project completion 

If a delay occurs that affects the ability to finish a construction project on time as per the signed agreement, it is known as a “critical delay.” A non-critical delay, on the other hand, would mean that an obstacle arose that delayed a portion of a construction project but not the overall date of completion.  

Did the contractor have a legitimate excuse for the delay? 

Another issue to determine in a delay claim is whether the delay in question was excusable or inexcusable. If something happened that was out of the contractor’s control, such as a hurricane or specification errors, then the delay is not the contractor’s fault. This is known as an excusable delay.  

If the contractor caused the delay, and it was preventable, it is an inexcusable delay. If that’s the case, then the delay is usually not compensable. Examples of inexcusable delays might include a material order sent in much too late or poor-quality work that someone had to redo. 

A contractor may also have grounds for filing a delay claim 

Delay claims are not always client versus contractor. You might be a contractor who has grounds for filing a delay claim. The client might be the one who caused the delay. If there has been a breach of contract or you have suffered economic damages due to a project delay, you can seek restitution.  

Construction law can be complex. For instance, one contract might include numerous completion dates for various parts of an overall project. Before filing a delay claim, it’s wise to carefully review your contract. Determine if there has been a breach and whether necessary elements exist that you can prove in court.