4 Types of Delays in Construction

Dec 23, 2021 | 0 comments

The phrase “time is gold” has never been more relevant especially in the world of construction. Delays are costly and not to mention, it doesn’t just affect the project but also the people working on it as well. According to a study by The Constructor, a delay in projects has a negative effect on clients, contractors, and consultants in terms of growth in adversarial relationships, mistrust, litigation, arbitration, and cash-flow problems. But it doesn’t need to come to those things. Here are six ways on how you can prevent these delays from happening…

  1. Maintain an accurate and well-updated schedule
  2. Management is everything (assign a project manager)
  3. Assign roles and responsibilities
  4. There is no such thing as over-communicating
  5. Schedule contractors in advance
  6. Set the budget straight

These are ways on how you can avoid costly delays when it comes to your construction project. So to say, there are two types of delays. Let’s get to the bottom of each.

Critical or non-critical delays

It is called a critical delay since some things are needed to be adjusted to be in line with the delay, thus affecting the completion date. And with that being said, such a thing should not happen in the first place. On the other hand, a non-critical delay is vice versa. Nevertheless, this kind of delay will affect project estimates still. Here are some of what causes critical delays that you should be aware of. 

Reasons for critical delays:
  • Extended Field Overhead
  • Unabsorbed home office overhead
  • Liquidated Damage
  • Idle labor & equipment cost
  • Labor & Material Cost Escalation and many more.

In a nutshell, according to Level Set, a critical delay is one that will affect the project completion date (or some other important milestone date on a project). And to say it simply, according to the study, a non-critical delays will affect the completion of specific activities, but not the completion date or the date of some important milestone.

Excusable construction delays

A delay that lets us breathe and makes us not panic. According to Cotney’s Attorney’s and Consultants, excusable delays consist of any delays that are unforeseeable and fall beyond the contractor’s control. A few examples of excusable delays can range anywhere from severe weather, design changes requested by the owner, or labor union strikes. To look into it some more, here are some of the roots of excusable construction delays.

  • Force Measure Clause
  • Natural Calamities
  • Political/Social Unrest
  • Terrorist Attacks
  • Delay from Client (Approvals, Decisions, etc.), etc.

Non-excusable construction delays

If there are excusable delays, then of course there are non-excusable delays as well. By all means, a delay becomes non-excusable when it is already foreseeable before it even happens. This means, that it is something that is totally within the control of the contractor, but for some reason, the action was not taken to prevent it. Here are some causes of non-excusable delays:

The causes are:
  • Delayed Mobilization
  • Delayed Procurement
  • Late submission of important documents
  • Planning & Scheduling
  • Critical events that were not highlighted to the client at right time, etc.

Compensable Delays in Construction Projects

To say the least, this kind of delay is paid. According to Cohen Seglias, compensable delays are delays that are unforeseeable and beyond the contractor’s control, but for which the contractor is entitled to not only a time extension but also additional compensation.

Basically, this is the kind of scenario in which you are entitled not only to a time extension but an extension that is paid. When this happens, it falls under compensable delays in construction projects.

Non-compensable Delays in Construction Projects

If there are compensable delays, then there are also non-compensable delays in construction. non-compensable delays fall under critical, non-critical, excusable, or non-excusable but really, this will all boil down depending on the conditions of the contract.

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