Understanding a Force Majeure Part 1
As Jacksonville construction lawyers, we understand the frustration construction professionals feel when it comes to project delays. Everyone hopes a project will flow smoothly and virtually problem free; however, that is not always the case especially when it comes to unforeseen events that threaten the completion of a project. Project interruptions can result in disputes leading to messy lawsuits if not handled properly. One of the ways to handle them is by drafting a force majeure clause into a contract. We encourage you to read part 2 of this series to learn more.
What is a Force Majeure?
A force majeure clause is a contractual provision that allocates the risk of performance if performance is delayed indefinitely or stopped completely due to circumstances outside of a party’s control. The purpose of the provision is to relieve a party impacted by the force majeure by temporarily suspending or terminating the contract. In Florida, a force majeure clause is permissible and allows time extensions for unexpected events such as:
- Acts of God (i.e., hurricanes, floods, earthquakes)
- Labor disputes (i.e., shortages, labor strikes, lock-outs)
Anticipating a Force Majeure
As with any construction project, planning is vital before a project begins. When considering a force majeure clause, parties must think about any unforeseeable events that could transpire, whether emergency or non-emergency, that would make performance impossible or impractical. For example, if you live in a hurricane-prone state, you’ll want to take that into consideration as a qualifying event.
The Importance of Documenting Events
As Jacksonville construction lawyers, we advise contractors to always provide written notice of the event and to properly document the event. When documenting the event, include the date the delay occurred, when notice was sent (and to whom), and the impact the delay had on the project. Record keeping is crucial for contractors to keep liabilities down and to support their efforts for remedy.
Possible Remedy for the Event
If a contractor has not been negligent in work performance, a time extension request is a solution for delays due to extreme weather conditions. Your record-keeping skills will come into play in order to request a time extension. When a delay occurs, providing the project manager with information such as a description of the delay, what was done to lessen the delay, the adjustments needed, and requests for additional compensation is extremely important.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.