Many experienced contractors make the mistake of verbally agreeing to perform work on a project without a written contract in place. Although conversing with an owner is a great way to begin the negotiation and collaboration process, without a contract, memories can become hazy when disputes arise. When a significant sum of money is on the line or a reputation is potentially damaged, people tend to “forget” about their verbal agreement. This is yet another reason why you need a clearly worded contract in place.
In the first and second sections of this five-part series, the Orlando construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law discussed establishing a contract and amending that contract when changes are needed to a project. In this section, we will discuss how a well-written contract can provide you with a valid excuse for delays.
It’s critical that a contractor meets the deadlines set forth in their contract. Depending on the size of the project, a construction contract can have several deadlines that need to be reached including the substantial completion date. This is the timeframe set for when an owner should be able to utilize the property for profit. When you hire an experienced Orlando construction lawyer, they can perform the following tasks:
- Determine the Deadline: The first step is to identify project deadlines and to determine whether this timeframe to complete the work is feasible or not.
- Define Excused Delays: There are several reasons why a project experiences delays, and it’s critical that your contract defines what qualifies as an excused delay. The more specific your contract is at defining what qualifies as an excused delay, the better your chances are at qualifying for additional payment or an extension.
- Establish Owner Delays: If the owner causes a delay, it’s critical that the contract features a clause explaining how this will be addressed. Ideally, it’s best to provide the owner with price points and requirements for these delays in the original contract to avoid a dispute.
- Notice of Delay: There is also a deadline for when a contractor can provide a delay notice. In order to ensure your delay rights are protected, it’s important to be aware of your delay notice deadline.
Along with identifying the types of delays that are excusable or inexcusable, if you experience damages because of an excusable delay, an experienced Orlando construction lawyer will ensure that your contract explains exactly how you will be compensated for these delays. If you experience additional overhead costs or miss out on another great opportunity because a project is delayed, you should have the opportunity to recover consequential damages.
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.