Deadlines and timelines, along with cost, are the most important aspects of a construction project. Construction contracts are full of deadlines, but the one that’s on everyone’s mind is the substantial completion date. This is when owners and investors can rent, sell, or use the project.
All contracts specify a deadline, either as a specific date or length of time, such as 365 days. Schedules are usually tight for construction projects to meet the deadlines. Meeting deadlines and avoiding delays is crucial. So, understanding each of a contract’s deadlines and provisions for delays is highly important.
One common aspect we have seen in projects we have been brought in to fix once the previous GC has been fired is that the contract does not have a ‘Change Order’ provision. They’ll usually have fairly comprehensive general condition elements, but no plan on how to handle any changes once the job begins.
Before you sign a contract with a GC, it’s a good idea to go over this in detail.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, most construction projects experience some type of delay. The bigger the project is and the more complex, the more likely a delay will occur (and in South Florida, the weather can throw some curveballs at us).
The main issues with delays are the cause of the delay, if the delay will impact the deadline, and if the project will cost more because of the delay.
Types of Delays
Not all delays are the same. The type of delay often determines whether the deadline needs to be shifted and if the cost will go up.
Excused delays are unforeseen events that affect the progress of the project. This type of delay usually forces the deadline to be extended. Contracts sometimes include provisions for excused delays and how to handle them. What’s in the contract usually determines how the delay will impact the cost.
The project owner or another party can also cause delays. Maybe the owner changes some aspect of the project, a design problem occurs, or a decision is deferred. It’s always a good idea to address owner-caused delays in the contract, with provisions for how the deadline and cost will be affected. If you anticipate this being part of your building process, make sure it is addressed in the pre-construction phase and agreed upon between you and your builder.
Most contracts require that notice be given within a specified timeframe when a delay occurs. It’s always best to identify any delay as soon as possible and address the issue before the delay dramatically increases costs and causes a lengthy deadline extension. And it’s absolutely essential that your contract with your builder has a mechanism in place to manage the delay before it happens. This will keep things moving and ensure that your project doesn’t get stymied by contractual disputes.
At Seacoast Construction, we know how important it is to keep projects on time and on budget. Our pre-construction coordination ensures that contracts are in order, and our clients understand exactly what is going on, so that deadlines and delays are reduced to an absolute minimum. Give us a call at 786-433-8740 to schedule a consultation.
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