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How do you assess the severity of a construction delay?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2023 | Construction Law

Construction projects are often very time-consuming. The process requires careful consideration and collaboration of several parties, including contractors, material suppliers, and property owners, to ensure that everything is completed on time.

When a project’s schedule goes off track, it can result in unpleasant and costly conflicts, leading to further delays. Understanding the different types of delay and how to handle them can help you mitigate their impact and keep your project on schedule.

4 Types of Construction Delays that Can Put You Behind Schedule

Scheduling delays can be broadly classified into four categories, each with a distinct impact on the project and its stakeholders. These categories are:

  1. Excusable vs. non-excusable delays: Excusable delays result from events beyond the project manager’s control, such as natural disasters.  The project manager is not at fault in these situations and may be entitled to an extension of time to complete the project when such delays arise.  By contrast, non-excusable delays are due to the contractor’s fault or negligence.  The contractor may be responsible for any expenses or losses incurred due to non-excusable delays.
  2. Compensable vs. non-compensable delays: When a delay is deemed “compensable,” the party impacted by it should be compensated for the time they lost. Compensation may take the form of more time, more money, or both.   Non-compensable delays are ones for which a party is not entitled to an extension of time or additional money.
  3. Critical vs. non-critical delays:  A critical delay impacts the project’s completion date.  Critical delays may also affect a project’s important milestones.  Even the best project manager cannot make up time from a critical delay; such delays mean the project will take longer to finish. Non-critical delays may impact the completion of specific activities, but not the ultimate completion date.
  4. Concurrent delays: Concurrent delays occur when multiple, independently-caused delays occur during the same period.  These delays require careful analysis to determine their impact on the project. Concurrent delays may be a defense against certain delay claims.

It is important to determine the nature of the delay and its impact on the project as soon as possible. By understanding the different types of delay, you can mitigate their impact and keep your project on track. If your client or contractor is unwilling to resolve the situation with you directly, consider seeking legal guidance.