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Acting fast can be critical in the event of construction delays

When it comes to home or office construction, people often joke about when a particular project is expected to be completed because it is not unusual for the completed date to get pushed further and further back because of delays. These delays are often frustrating and inconvenient, but sometimes they are unavoidable.

However, there are times when construction delays warrant much more than your patience and understanding. In some cases, delays can lead to legal disputes citing breach of contract or claims requesting compensation. Unfortunately, for property owners, the line between these two situations isn't always that well-defined.

In order to determine whether delay costs are justifiable or not, you will want to consider three elements, as examined in this FindLaw.com article. Generally speaking, contractors may not be compensated for delays that are:

  1. Detrimental to other projects and the completion date
  2. Foreseeable
  3. Avoidable
  4. Not caused by the property owner

Your contract with the parties involved in construction should address the various types of delays and what options you have to remedy them. In some cases, certain types of delays may not warrant action; in other cases, compensation and termination of a contract may be options. 

It should also be noted in your contract that you should be provided with written notification of delays in a timely manner so that action can be taken. Waiting too long to address delays could make it difficult to pursue and enforce necessary and effective measures. 

However, before you withhold payment or take other aggressive steps in light of a construction delay, it can be crucial that you first consult an attorney to discuss the situation. You may very well have grounds to challenge, cancel or enforce your contract, or you may need to explore other resolutions. With legal guidance, you can take the steps necessary to protect your finances and get a project back on track.

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