Understanding the 4 Types of Construction Delays
In every profession there are events that may lead to delays. But construction delays can prove especially costly. A construction project involves a complex network of owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. A delay on the part of any of these parties can hold up an entire project for months or even years. And this in turn can lead to legal claims and potential litigation over who was at-fault for the delay.
From a legal standpoint, construction delays can be divided into four broad categories, which can be briefly described as follows:
- Non-Excusable Delays
These are delays where a particular contractor or sub-contractor has assumed the risk or was the actual cause of the delay. For example, if a contractor fails to properly estimate the time and labor needed to complete a project, that would qualify as a non-excusable delay. But even such things as weather or “bad luck” may create a non-excusable delay. What matters is that the delay was either the result of something within the contractor’s control or was reasonably foreseeable. And as the name implies, when the delay is “non-excusable” the contractor is not allowed any legal or monetary relief. Conversely, the project owner may take action against the contractor to recover any actual damages.
- Non-Compensable Excusable Delays
A delay is “excusable” when it is the result of factors or events that were outside the contractor’s control and not foreseeable. Put another way, an excusable delay is one that is not the result of the contractor’s fault or negligence. Depending on the nature of the contract, an excusable delay may be “non-compensable” or “compensable.” With a non-compensable excusable delay, neither the contractor nor the owner is liable for damages incurred by the other, but the contractor may receive additional time to complete their work.
- Compensable Excusable Delay
Some contracts, in contrast, do allow for compensation. For instance, if the delay was the result of the project owner’s actions (or failure to take action), the contract may provide the contractor with compensation above and beyond additional time to complete the work. This compensation usually takes the form of an “adjustment” to account for the contractor’s additional costs resulting from the delay.
- Concurrent Delays
Finally, there may be situations where both the owner and the contractor are responsible for a particular delay. Keep in mind, these may be separate delay-causing events that happen to occur at or around the same time. When such concurrent delays occur, it may be the case that neither side is entitled to seek contractual damages from the other.
Get Advice from a Florida Construction Lawyer
When a delay occurs, all sides need to understand their contractual rights and obligations. The qualified Florida delay claim attorneys at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A., can help. We assist owners, contractors, and subcontractors with all types of delay claims. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation so we can learn more about your situation.