Delay and Disruption Claims

Charlottesville Construction Delay and Disruption Attorneys

In many areas of life, the old adage, “Time is money,” rings true.  This is especially true in the construction arena.  With today’s complicated projects and tight time schedules, disputes often arise regarding schedule delays and disruptions, and this could lead to significant losses for developers and property owners.

Disruption claims may arise in a variety of settings, such as where change orders occur.  Change orders can be typical on a construction site and often include changes in scope of the project, or changes in design as the project is underway.  These types of changes can be routine and even expected in many settings.  Because of that, these types of delays and disruptions are often excused and become a part of the project.  Even if a delay is considered excusable, however, a contractor may be required to avoid foreseeable delays.

Changes are often unexpected, but those can lead to unreasonable delays and disruption in the construction project, causing the investors or developers to lose momentum.  Such changes are considered “non-excused,” and may include differing or unexpected site conditions, design modifications due to necessity, price disputes, unexpected weather conditions, labor disputes, permit and approval problems, market interruptions, unavailability of labor, material or equipment, and negligence of the contractor or subcontractors.  Such non-excusable delays may be the legal responsibility of the contractor to address, especially if the delay it caused by the negligence of the contractor or its agents.

Construction disruption and delay can reduce labor productivity, extend a project’s duration, and force the parties involved to shoulder additional costs.  Absent specific applicable contractual terms, in order to receive an addition of time for the project’s completion or to recover additional costs, the contractor must meet a number of fundamental requirements.  The delay must be reasonable.  Additionally, a well-drafted contract likely will address categories of excusable delay which typically involve issues beyond the contractor’s control.

Construction delays, if excusable, will likely entitle the contractor to receive additional compensation for the delay.  If a delay is compensable, the contractor may be entitled to recover for costs of the delay in addition to the time extensions required to finish the project.  Most contracts will define which delays are compensable, but, generally, if the delay could have been prevented by due care of one of the parties, the party that did not provide such case is responsible for the additional costs.

There are also situations where the contractor may be held financially responsible for the delays that occur to a construction project, particularly if the negligent acts of its employees or subcontractors cause the delay or disruption.  The precise relationship and actions of the parties and the contractual language will determine who is ultimately held responsible.

Damages resulting from delay or disruption may be difficult to prove.  Estimating and quantifying lost productivity or lost profits is very challenging, and will likely require the assistance of one or more expert witnesses.  Though productivity and profit losses are often hard to identify and prove, the Virginia construction disruption and delay attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. are experienced in working with experts to conduct proper delay analyses and in evaluating, negotiating, and litigating all types of disruption and delay claims.

If you have suffered a loss on a construction project due to another party’s delays or disruptions, please contact John B. Simpson, one of the Virginia construction delay attorneys at MartinWren, P.C., at 434-817-3100.  We will fully investigate the matter to discern every party on a project who may bear some responsibility for any delay and the causes for such delay.

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We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

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