Construction Delays – Are Damages Available?


Construction contracts usually provide a date, materials used, amount needed to finish the project and similar factors that could affect the job. However, when the construction on the building or structure has not been completed as per the contractual obligations, the owner of the land or unfinished production may be entitled to damages.

Construction contracts have various conditions enclosed in within the documents, and the construction company is usually bound by these terms and conditions. There are options available based on what the owner is wanting, and if he or she has decided upon changes, this could affect the timeframe of the building production. Before litigation is utilized in these situations, both parties usually communicate possible options such as an extended closing date for the finished product. The owner may decide to walk away from the project and end the contract. Some companies working on such sites may throw in items or services as compensation for the delay.

If a contract with certain stipulations has been signed by the owner or construction company, then the delay could be deemed as a breach of contract. If the owner of the property is not willing to work with the organization or individual, he or she may have action he or she could pursue in the courts for damages. However, the more open the owner is to resolving the matter before it goes before a judge, the more inclined the presiding judge may be towards him or her. Additionally, if there are other matters that are out of the hands of the company such as delays in shipped items, materials that were damaged or extended weather complications, these elements may all factor into the late finish date.

The Damages Explained

Claims against delays are common due to the inability to prevent these issues even with ironclad contracts in place. To analyze what damages could be received for these complications, experts in analysis are needed. These professionals have knowledge in scheduling, management of projects, accounting and estimates and what methods are used for construction projects. A lawyer is usually required to assist in mitigating what harm is caused by construction delays and failed projects. To estimate and calculate what amounts and types of compensation is possible, a method of examination and thorough analysis of the entire situation is necessary.

The damages that may be received are those included in the project such as the project management, supervisory expenses, fees, overhead and loss of use of the building. If there are rentals, these are lost, and insurance would have been purchased as well. The loan itself for the construction, the interest and profits of what the structure could bring in are all lost through the delays. If the site delays result in the building becoming not useable, this could lead to further compensation claims. Supervision, facilities, construction site problems and liability all may part of additional damages that could be claimed.

The Claims in Construction Delays

While there are many different types of damages that are possible through a claim when construction projects are delayed, it is the overall loss of profits that are the most profound and often most difficult to calculate. When the business has not started yet, the owner may need to wait to make a claim until the possible profits may be projected based on the business and consumer base. However, other aspects of the construction delays could increase the amount of damages received such as the hourly labor for workers, increased costs for materials, the equipment rental and maintenance, mobilizing the workforce and other extended conditions for the general project.

When facing a possible claim to attempt to receive damages, the owner of the building should ensure professionals have calculated all affected factors. These numbers may increase or decreased based on additional elements such as projected profits, legal fees and a loss of clients when the delays cause a loss in confidence. The owner should ensure a lawyer has been hired and has been provided with all relevant details. Then, it may be possible to seek compensation through the court system and attempt to recover from the economic and financial damage.

The Lawyer in Construction Delays

Construction projects suffer from delays constantly. However, when the damage from these situations is extreme, the owner of the building may need to gather evidence and present it to a lawyer to litigate for damages. The legal representative may hire an expert to explain these matters to the judge or jury.

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