How to Assess Scheduling Delays in Construction Projects

Legal Article

How to Assess Scheduling Delays in Construction Projects

Almost 80 percent of construction companies expect delays during most of their jobs. However, though certain construction projects will not be able to mitigate project delays, most contractors blame poor job site coordination as the reason for delays. Below is a list of the different types of scheduling delays and the most common reasons why construction projects experience delays.

Types of Scheduling Delays

When a delay occurs on a construction project, it is vital to determine what category of delay this event falls under. The reason for this is that the contractor and subcontractors on the job may be entitled to additional compensation if the project experiences delays. Below are the four common types of delays.

Critical Delays

A critical delay refers to a delay that affects a project’s completion date or important milestones on the project. Because of their nature, a construction company cannot make up time in another area to balance out these delays. While not completely fixable, a skilled construction company can minimize the total delays on the project. If one area of the project experiences delays, the construction company will typically try to work on other areas of the project.

Excusable Delays

If the delay is excusable, the property owner cannot hold someone accountable for the delay. Most commonly, excusable delays include things like errors in project specs, hidden issues with the property, dangerous or impending weather conditions, and customer or owner changes. Furthermore, if the delay is excusable, the property owner should give the contractors additional funds or a project extension to make up for the additional work time.

Compensable Delays

Compensable delays allow a contractor to receive more money, time, or both because of a project delay. This type of delay affects a certain party where that party has nothing to do with causing that delay. For example, if an electrician has to wait to install wires because the drywallers took longer than anticipated, the electrician should be given more time to complete their work. Furthermore, in most cases, an excusable delay is a compensable delay.

Concurrent Delays

Concurrent delays occur when there are more than two delays on a single project. These two delays do not have to occur at the same time and instead can happen within a given time frame or can overlap each other.

Most Common Reasons Scheduling Delays

Below are the most common reasons why scheduling delays on construction projects commonly occur.

Weather Delays

Weather delays are the most common reasons for construction delays. Furthermore, these delays are most commonly caused by heavy or excessive rain, snow, winds, or heat.

Budget Delays

Property owner budget delays can completely derail a job. The reason for this is that if there is no money to pay the many different workers on the project, the contractors will not work. Additionally, a project may be set to begin yet the owner of the property cannot secure the financing necessary to start the job.

Labor Scheduling

A contractor may be juggling multiple jobs at once. Thus, a contractor may give a property owner a set start date. However, if they experience delays on other projects, they may not be able to start on time.

Lack of Communication

Similar to labor scheduling, if there is a lack of communication on a project, a job may experience delays before or during the project. Finally, if there is no communication between parties, an issue may occur on the project yet compound into a much larger problem because it is not fixed quickly.

Site Coordination

Site coordination is similar to a lack of communication. For example, multiple parties may be scheduled to work at the same time even though they must have access to the same area.

Tips to Minimize Effects of Construction Delays

No matter what type of delay you experience, understanding how to minimize the number of delays is critical. Below are the best ways to minimize the effects of construction delays.

  • Set Realistic Expectations

If you set unrealistic expectations for a project and experience delays, this will harm the project more than usual. Thus, set realistic goals for the project so if minor delays do occur, the contractor and other workers can easily absorb these delays.

  • Update the Construction Contract

If you experience delays that force you to change the schedule, you should utilize a change order. Once you finalize a change order, this provision will be included in the new construction contract.

  • Watch Lien Deadlines

Scheduling delays affect both the work done on a project but also affect the payment schedules for contractors and subcontractors. Thus, to avoid surprise lien claims, negotiate extended payment plains with the contractors and subcontracts. Additionally, you could have them state that they will accept late payment.

  • Encourage Collaboration

Without collaboration between all the parties of the company, a small issue may go unreported. If this occurs, a small issue can cost a project more time and money than it should.

  • Negotiate

Finally, if delays do occur, try to negotiate with the other parties involved in the project. Negotiation is useful to create updated contract terms that both parties are happy with.

Contact our Law Office for More Information

At Antonoplos & Associates, our Washington DC construction attorneys can help construction company owners, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, architects, designers, and property owners with a wide range of services before, during, and after a construction project. For more information on how to reduce and assess scheduling delays in construction projects, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Finally, for more information on construction law, check out our blog.