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Do delays in project completion lead to construction litigation?

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2023 | Construction Litigation

Numerous factors influence which construction professionals property owners hire for specific projects. For some parties, budget is everything. The lowest bidder will often receive more thorough consideration than professionals and businesses that quote higher prices. However, recommendations from others, online reviews and even the length of time that the company has done business may influence the decision-making process. For some clients, it is the schedule that matters the most.

Maybe they want to list their home for sale and need a new project completed at a certain time so they can list a property confidently. Maybe there is a massive merger or business acquisition in progress, and having facilities ready by a specific date is an absolute necessity. Professionals and firms that quote faster turnaround times for completing projects and that have more open availability in their schedules, therefore, can sometimes attract more new clients than those that estimate a longer timeline.

As a result, construction delays can lead to significant client dissatisfaction, and in some cases, major delays might even lead to construction litigation. How can businesses avoid financial, legal and reputation issues related to delays?

Careful contracts and communication are key

For a construction professional or an executive negotiating a contract with a client, including the right language in a contract is very important. Clients need to understand that completion dates and timelines are estimates that are subject to change depending on employee availability, supply chain issues and possibly even the weather.

Contracts provide some degree of flexibility for the company in case factors outside of its control prevent the business from completing the project on time as the client expects. Additionally, when it becomes obvious that there will be a significant delay or even a minor delay in a situation involving a date-sensitive project, it will likely be necessary to communicate about that delay with the client.

Providing a formal Notice of Delay document to the client as soon as possible can mitigate the challenges the delay might cause the client and help the construction company or litigation related to a delay in project completion. Proper written notice given early can help clients address the change in the project’s timeline with fewer issues.

Having the right paperwork in place and employing thoughtful practices can significantly reduce the likelihood of a construction company or professional facing legal challenges because of a delay in project completion. Seeking legal guidance when something is starting to go awry can be a solid proactive strategy as well.