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When does a construction delay cause a breach of contract?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2020 | Business Law |

Whether you are adding onto a current building or starting from scratch, construction can be an exciting and frustrating time for your business. You are dependent on the construction company to support your business and help you achieve your goals.

Unfortunately, sometimes there are delays with your construction project. It is easier to be understanding during brief delays, but when days turn into weeks, it is difficult to be patient.

In some cases, a delay could mean the contractor has breached their side of the contract. Here’s what you should know about their obligation to the contractual deadline.

Excusable delays

Although it may be inconvenient, there are times when the company working on your construction project cannot make progress as quickly as either of you planned. Typically, these types of delays are excusable and include circumstances, such as:

  • Acts of God
  • Owner delays

Excusable delays can also include situations outlined explicitly in the contract. Depending on the cause of the delay, you may owe the contractor damages, as can be the case when a contractor is waiting for your approval along with other owner-driven delays.

Often, in the event of an excusable delay, the contractor will at least have the additional time to complete the project.

It’s all in the contract

It can be challenging to predict what delays you could face when you are talking about the construction project. As you consider potential issues, consider interruptions such as:

  • Labor shortages
  • Supply problems
  • Government shutdowns
  • Weather delays

When you are negotiating a contract for construction, pay careful attention to the portion about delays and who can be liable for damages. An event that seems unlikely could turn into an unintentional breach and expensive damages.