Back Legal Framework for Extension of Time Claim

Date: 01 May 2023

Construction projects are complex and involve many parties, including owners, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. The success of a construction project is dependent on various factors, including timely completion. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, delays are common in construction projects. Therefore, construction contracts often include provisions for extension of time claims. These claims allow contractors to extend the time for completing the project beyond the original completion date, without facing penalties or damages for delay.

In construction contracts, time is often of the essence, and delays can result in financial losses for both the contractor and the client. The contractual provisions related to time and delay are therefore critical to ensure that the parties' interests are protected. Typically, construction contracts will include provisions related to extension of time claims, which specify the circumstances under which a contractor can claim additional time to complete the project.

The contractual provisions related to extension of time claims typically include a mechanism for notifying the client of the delay and seeking an extension.

The legal framework for extension of time claims varies from country to country and even from state to state. However, in general, there are several key elements that should be considered when making an extension of time claim.

The first and most important element is the contract. The contract is the legal agreement between the owner and the contractor and sets out the terms and conditions of the project. The contract should include provisions for extension of time claims, including the circumstances under which such claims can be made, the procedure for making the claim, and the time limits for making the claim. The contract should also specify the reasons for the consequences of not making an extension of time claim within the required time limits.

The second element is the cause of the delay. There are several types of delay that can occur in a construction project, including excusable and non-excusable delays. Excusable delays are those that are beyond the control of the contractor, such as adverse weather conditions, changes in the design or scope of work, and delays caused by the owner or other parties. Non-excusable delays, on the other hand, are those that are within the control of the contractor, such as poor project management or inadequate resources or late subcontractors and suppliers. Excusable delays are generally accepted as valid reasons for extension of time claims, whereas non-excusable delays are not.

The third element is the notice requirement. Most contracts require the contractor to give notice of the delay and the intention to claim an extension of time within a specified period. Failure to give timely notice can result in the claim being denied. The notice should include details of the cause of the delay, the anticipated duration of the delay, and the impact of the delay on the project schedule.

The fourth element is the assessment of the claim. Once a claim for extension of time has been made, it will be assessed by the owner’s representative or an independent third party. The assessment will consider the cause of the delay, the notice requirement, and any other relevant factors. The owner’s representative or third party may also consider the impact of the delay on the project schedule and any additional costs that may be incurred as a result of the delay.

The fifth element is the decision on the claim. Once the assessment has been completed, the assessor will make a decision on the claim. If the claim is accepted, the contract will be adjusted to reflect the new completion date, and the contractor will not be liable for any damages for delay. If the claim is denied, the contractor may be liable for damages for delay.

In conclusion, extension of time claims are an important aspect of construction contracts, and the legal framework for such claims must be carefully considered. Contractors should ensure that the contract includes provisions for extension of time claims, and they should give timely notice of any delays. Owners and third parties must carefully assess extension of time claims to ensure that they are valid and reasonable. By following the legal framework for extension of time claims, construction projects can be completed successfully and without unnecessary disputes.

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