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What are construction delays and how does compensation work?

When a construction project is scheduled, the contractor and the owner work together to come up with a contract for the project. That contract usually includes a timeline for the project. In most cases, some foreseeable delays, such as added days for inclement weather, are included in the timeline. In some cases, there might be delays to the project that weren't included in the timeline. If that occurs, it might be possible for the contractor or the owner to receive compensation for the delay.

What types of delays might occur?

In some cases, delays are considered excusable. Bad weather that occurs above and beyond what is normal for the time of year that the project is being completed in can be considered a delay. An owner changing the scope of the project or the design of the project can cause a delay. Negligence on the part of the contractor or subcontractor can cause a delay. In each of these cases, one party, either the contractor or the owner, might opt to seek compensation.

When can each party seek compensation?

If the construction delay is caused by one party and has a negative effect on the other party, the harmed party might seek compensation. For example, if the owner of the project changes the design, the contractor might seek compensation because of the costs associated with the delay. The owner of the project might seek compensation if the project is delayed because the contractor forgot to order essential supplies.

How do I know if compensation is possible?

The first thing to do if you are affected by a construction delay is to review the contract. Oftentimes, the compensable delays and non-compensable delays are covered in the contract. If you are still unsure after reviewing the contract or if you want to proceed with seeking compensation, you should seek out someone familiar with construction delay claims to help you proceed.

Source: FindLaw, "Delay Claims in Construction Cases: Common Pitfall," accessed July 01, 2015

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