Delays may equate to a breach of the contract, and may subject the responsible party to damages incurred by the owner.
Time is often a significant factor in construction projects. The basic time requirements are often included in the construction contract, but oftentimes inclement weather, labor or material availability, the actions or omissions of the owner or other trades working on the project, or other unforeseen circumstances can delay the timely completion of construction work.
Prepare for Delays in the Contract
Some delays may be grounds for an extension of the contract time. Ideally, what is and is not considered a valid delay justifying a contract extension is set forth explicitly in a written and signed contract. If so, there is often a procedure (usually through change orders) for properly and timely requesting a time extension. Just like with changes to the scope of the work, contractual procedures governing the extension of contract time are important to follow. Otherwise, delays may equate to a breach of the contract, and may subject the responsible party to damages incurred by the owner or other parties.
Liquidated Damages Clauses
Sometimes a contract includes a provision for “liquidated” damages setting a certain amount of damages per day of delay. While potentially valid and enforceable under Florida law, liquidated damages clauses must meet certain requirements or they may be challenged.
Incurred Damages from Delays
Aside from owner damages for delay, sometimes delays in a project cause contractors to incur damages, such as for general conditions / overhead during idle or inefficient time, for acceleration expenses (increased labor or overtime) in catching up to a schedule after a delay, for remobilization costs in the event a contractor pulled off the job during a delay, or for rush delivery for materials that could not be delivered in a timely manner due to a delay.
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