Does a Construction Delay Constitute a Breach of a Construction Contract?
A construction contracts attorney can provide assistance when problems arise during the course of a construction project. There are many different things that could go wrong and that could constitute a breach of a construction contract that leads to legal action. An experienced attorney can help you to determine if a problem that arises is considered a breach of contract and can help you to take steps to try to resolve issues that arise during construction.
Curley & Rothman, LLC understands Pennsylvania laws on construction contracts. Our legal team provides representation to builders, to property developers, to property owners, and to others who are involved in construction projects. To find out more about the ways in which our legal team can help you, give us a call. A construction contracts attorney at our firm can assist with all types of problems that arise during construction, including offering advice on whether a delay can constitute a breach of a construction contract.
When Does a Delay Result in a Breach of a Construction Contract?
Construction projects need to be completed on schedule, and contractors should be paid on schedule when they fulfill their responsibilities under the contractual agreement. Unfortunately, sometimes contractors fall behind in completing work or property owners fail to pay for services by the deadline.
If there is a specific deadline for completion of a project, or for completion of different project milestones, a failure on the part of the contractor to meet this deadline could be considered a breach of contract. If there are payment deadlines, failure to comply with those deadlines may also be a breach. If there is no specific deadline specified in the contract, a breach can still occur if the contractor delays in construction for such a length of time that they delay is considered to essentially involve abandonment of the construction project.
While delays generally constitute a breach, however, there may be circumstances in which a delay is justified and thus no breach happens. Examples include when acts of God prevent construction from progressing or cause a setback, or when events beyond a contractor’s control cause delays. Unusually bad weather, design mistakes, and unanticipated conditions on the job site could all provide justification for a delay occurring.
If there are no factors that make a delay excusable, then the failure to fulfill a deadline is generally going to be considered to be a breach of contract. The consequences of the breach can vary. In some construction contracts, there is a liquidated damages clause which specifies in advance a specific penalty amount if the construction project is not completed by the designated deadline or if payments are not made on time. Liquidated damages clauses are put into construction contracts because of the difficulty in demonstrating damages due to delay.
If there is no liquidated damage clause in a contract, the non-breaching party will need to demonstrate the extent of the loss resulting from the construction contract breach. The non-breaching party should be provided with compensation for the actual provable losses that happened due to the failure of the other party to comply with deadlines.
When to Contact a Construction Contracts Attorney Due to a Delay
If you are a party to a construction contract, you should contact a Philadelphia construction contracts attorney as soon as possible when a deadline has passed without payment being made or without construction milestones being reached. An attorney can provide you with assistance in communicating with the other party to demand the situation be remedied in a timely manner. Often, simply involving an attorney is sufficient to get things back on track.
If the delay is not promptly corrected, an experienced attorney can provide assistance in pursuing an appropriate legal remedy. This could include a mechanic’s lien or materialmen’s lien if the delay that occurred involved a failure of the property owner to pay a contractor or material provider for services in a timely manner. If the delay occurs because of the contractor or builder and there is no allowable justification for the delay, an experienced attorney can provide assistance in pursuing appropriate legal action to seek damages for the breach of the construction contract.
Getting Help from A Construction Contracts Attorney
Curley & Rothman, LLC can provide assistance in determining if a delay constitutes a breach and can help in responding to a delay. To find out more about the ways in which a construction contracts attorney can help you to respond effectively when a construction delay occurs, give us a call at 610-834-8819 or contact us today.