The implications of delays on construction projects

The project arriving at platform one will be delayed (again)

As I know all too well from personal and professional experience, delays and construction projects often go hand in hand.

The announcement that Crossrail's opening date has been postponed again did not come as a complete surprise. Projects of this enormous size and complexity are notoriously difficult to programme accurately, but on the flip-side are highly likely to have contractual structures that almost certainly include provisions which cater both for delay and how its inevitable financial implications are dealt with.

What legal action could be taken when delays in construction projects occur?

Contractors hit by delays they have not caused will doubtless be concerned about the impact on them and be looking at the clauses and programmes in those structures that may come to their aid: in particular those related to completion dates (for whole stages and/or specific milestones), the progression/completion of required interdependencies, pre-defined relevant events which might justify additional time or excuse delay, loss and expense provisions, liquidated damages and limitations/exclusions of liability.

Simon discusses what legal action could be taken when delays in construction projects occur and explores other similar situations where construction delays have meant liquidated damages clauses have kicked in and what it has meant for those involved.

Take Aways

  • Make sure contracts deal with delay and loss/expense claims
  • Work through potential scenarios during the negotiation phase to make sure they’re covered by the contract and that its terms allocate the risks as well as the consequences of any delay fairly between the employer and contractor
  • Stand your ground when negotiating liquidated damages and record how any figures were reached
  • Make sure you see any head contract’s terms that are incorporated into a sub-contract
  • Comply strictly with any contractual notice provisions or other conditions precedent for claims
  • Consider using the SCL protocol

Read Simon’s full article published by Civil Engineering Surveyor by clicking here.