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Construction Delay Claims Explained

On the face of it, construction delay claims sound rather straightforward; construction work is delayed and a claim is submitted to compensate the contractor and extend the deadline for project completion. However, other factors can make these claims a little more complex.

As construction delay claims are common in Florida, a clear understanding of this kind of claim is vital.

Excusable and Non-Excusable Delays

In order for a contractor to make a successful claim, the delay must be one that is “excusable.”  Any reasons for the delay which are beyond the contractor’s control or those that have been specifically outlined as such in the original contract will be usually be considered excusable.

However, if the apparently excusable delay is found to have been foreseeable on the part of the contractor, and therefore avoidable or preventable, the contractor’s claim will not be considered excusable.

Contractor Responsibilities

The situation can become even more complex when the contractor hires subcontractors to complete portions of the project.  A typical prime contract will clearly set forth the responsibilities held by the contractor, including the contractor’s responsibilities for any work carried out by subcontractors.

If the contract states that the contractor is liable for any negligent practices or procedures on the part of a subcontractor, then the contractor will not be able to submit a claim for delays that arise as a result. In order to submit a successful claim, the contractor must be able to show that it was not in a position to effectively prevent the delay and that it was not responsible for the actions of the subcontractor.

The Importance of Record Keeping

One of the most common reasons for the failure of a construction delay claim – not only in Florida but also across the country – is poor recording of working practices and delays. In order for a contractor to have a successful delay claim, it must be able to prove that it was operating in accordance with its contractual obligations every step of the way.

This means keeping a record of the project as it develops, as well as identifying the reasons behind any delays. This record must be legally sound and verifiable, as it may be the only real evidence of a delay should the matter proceed to litigation.

If you need legal advice or representation relating to construction delay claims or in another area of construction law, get in touch with us today on 904-396-1100 or leave a message for us on our contact page.

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