Delay claims in construction cases: common pitfalls

Delay claims in construction cases: common pitfalls

lylecharles-2Written by Lyle Charles

80% of disputes in construction are due to delays in the project. In order to process construction delay claims correctly, it is important to understand the basic elements necessary to prove a delay claim.

Delays often occur when the period of time has been extended on a project, due to circumstances not anticipated when the parties entered the contract. The most common causes are differing site conditions; changes in requirements/design; defective plans and specifications; weather conditions that stall construction; unavailability of labor/ material/ equipment and interferences by the owner.

This will force the contractor to delay the project, causing him/her to spend additional funds to complete the project. These costs can include the costs of idle workforce/equipment; additional office overheads etc. To get approval for the extension and the incurred costs, contractors will need to meet specific prerequisites.

Here are the most common types of delays

Excusable delays – Are delays written in the contract and can include design errors /omissions, changes initiated by the owner; unanticipated weather and natural disasters.

Non-excusable delays - Are those that the contractor has assumed the risk under the contract.

Compensable delays– If a delay is compensable, it will be stated in the contract and the contractor can recover the costs of the delay.

Non-compensable delays – These are stated in the contract and are delays that the contractor will not be compensated for. For example, the acts of a negligent subcontractor that resulted in delays and damages.

Concurrent delay – Are those that delay the project, due to an independent delay occurring during the same time.

To handle your claims on a large construction project it is best to get advice from a reputed construction claims management team.


Lyle Charles is an expert in commercial and residential construction, and is certified in construction mediation and construction claims preparation.