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Will a delayed construction project lead to an expensive lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Construction Law |

When you run a construction company, you all understand that projects rarely go the way you anticipate. You could start a partial demolition of a kitchen only to discover that the support joists are in a completely different position than you believed and are of lower quality than anticipated, necessitating a completely new approach.

You order materials for the flooring, which is the finishing touch on a new home, only to find out that the type of floor that the new owner wants is back-ordered for months. You can even have an entire crew sickened if they all stop at the same restaurant together after work and end up with food poisoning.

Clients often have big plans, which might involve hosting a wedding or opening a new storefront that these construction delays will negatively impact. Will you have to worry about a lawsuit if you don’t finish the project as quickly as anticipated?

Contract inclusions can help protect you

While you do want to prioritize keeping your word and finishing projects as close to the estimated completion date as possible, you don’t control the world around you. From supply chain issues to staffing problems, countless circumstances could put you behind schedule on a client’s project.

Including provisions in your contract that protect you from financial claims and lawsuits in the event of a delay is a very important form of protection. Provided that you complete the project within a reasonable time frame in accordance with your contract, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting dragged into court over a delay that was not your fault when you use the right language in your contracts.

Be proactive about communication

One of the simplest ways to avoid conflict with construction clients is to apprise them of the situation as soon as you know there may be delays or setbacks. The better informed the client is about the circumstances, the less likely they are to blame you personally or the company for the delay. When they know as soon as possible about the potential pushback of the completion date, they can notify the appropriate people on their end to reduce the negative consequences they experience.

Delays are sometimes outside of your control, but the way you respond to and plan for them can make all the difference. Identifying and addressing issues that could affect your construction company’s success and reputation could protect you from construction litigation.

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