Justifying Construction Delays

Oct 26, 2016

Accurate and detailed schedule analysis is the key to justifying construction delays.

Construction delays, unfortunately, occur on most construction projects. Some are justified, such as those caused by unexpected severe weather. Other delays are not. The failure of subcontractors to man a job properly fits into this category.

Matthew Devries, in an article in BEST PRACTICES CONSTRUCTION LAW, explains a series of procedures that allow a contractor to gather the “evidence…to establish or to challenge entitlement to the damages sought should a claim arise.” (DeVries cites as his source “a great Construction Law International article by my friends Don and Rob.”)

The key is detailed and accurate schedule analysis that demonstrates the cause of each delay and its impact on the overall schedule of the project.

The author lists eight guidelines contractors should follow:

  1. Demonstrate the impact of each delay by comparing the original date for completion with the revised date for completion caused by the delay.
  2. Not all delays “affect the critical path.” All jobs have what the author refers to as “float”—time allocated in a job schedule to absorb a certain amount of delays. Unless the float is adversely affected the “delay…is not compensable.”
  3. Keep a written timeline of the delays that demonstrates their cumulative effect upon the completion date of the project.
  4. When extending the timeline for the project, indicate the delays that are justified.
  5. Include “as-built information” that shows how the project is progressing.
  6. Indicate what steps are being taken to “minimize future delays.”
  7. Continually revise the schedule based upon current information and explain these updates.
  8. Indicate what caused each delay so you can demonstrate whether each delay is justified, and therefore compensable.

As DeVries makes clear, these steps can mean the difference between success or failure should a dispute arise. I recommend you consult this article for a more in-depth discussion of how to record job delays in a format that best protects the interests of your company.


What I Learned from My Kids About Delay Claims, Matthew DeVries (citing an article in “Construction Law International by my friends Don and Rob”), BEST PRACTICES CONSTRUCTION LAW, Oct. 13, 2016.