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When are construction delays excusable?

California is in a constant state of construction. From rebuilding highways to laying down foundation for new skyscrapers, year-round projects are frequently stalled. Often this is due to a shortage of time, resources and finances. Delays are common, and unfortunately, construction disputes follow.

Many factors impact project timelines. Some are preventable, and some are inevitable. If a construction dispute arises, a contractor must prove a variety of things. The first part involves whether the delay was excusable or non-excusable.

Excusable delays include the following:

  • Unexpected weather
  • Natural disasters
  • Labor disputes
  • Issues with permits
  • Owner’s change orders
  • Delays in government approval
  • Issues with the project property
  • Intervention of outside agencies
  • Errors and omissions in the plans

Other distinctions to consider

Excusable delays are typically outlined in the contract. These things happen and are beyond a contractor or subcontractor’s control. On the other hand, sometimes subcontractors experience delays due to another contractor’s failure to complete the job. Therefore, the subcontractor takes the hit for what is outside of their control.

Different perspectives put a twist on the situation. Additionally, even an excusable delay can fall under the category of what is known to be a critical delay. It is about as drastic as it sounds. It is important to fix the issue before it goes down a critical path.

Weather, inspections, suppliers and changes present implications that are not always a contractor’s fault. However, the construction industry deals with these types of disputes every day. Construction law gets complex, so it takes knowledge and expertise to navigate through these problems.

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