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Delays are a frequent occurrence in the construction sector. When a contractor encounters project delays, it may be necessary to expedite the work in order to restore the project schedule. Accelerating the work can incur significant expenses, which is why it is crucial to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of constructive acceleration. Understanding these basics is vital for protecting one’s rights and potentially making a claim to recover costs associated with the acceleration process if deemed necessary.

Fundamentals of constructive acceleration

What does acceleration mean in construction?

Acceleration refers to intentionally expediting construction work beyond the original plan. This can involve completing tasks in a shorter time frame, overlapping activities more than initially scheduled, or modifying the sequence of work. Acceleration is typically implemented when the projected completion date extends beyond the contractual deadline, and there is a need to recover the schedule delay. It may also apply if the project owner determines that an earlier completion is necessary.

Acceleration often leads to additional costs related to labor, equipment, and support. If the reasons for acceleration are deemed beyond the contractor’s control and agreed upon by both parties, these costs can be recovered through a change order. If not, the contractor may pursue an acceleration claim to recover the extra expenses. In such cases, a thorough analysis is required to determine if the schedule delay resulted from events beyond the contractor’s control.

constructive acceleration
constructive acceleration

Types of acceleration

The contractor’s ability to recoup acceleration costs depends on the reason behind the project’s acceleration. The types of acceleration include:

  1. Directed acceleration: This occurs when the contractor receives instructions to accelerate the work. Directed acceleration typically involves compensation in exchange for the expedited pace and is usually formalized through a change order.
  2. Voluntary acceleration: Voluntary acceleration happens when the contractor independently chooses to accelerate the work. In voluntary cases, the contractor may not be entitled to additional costs for the acceleration.
  3. Constructive acceleration: Constructive acceleration arises when the owner denies the contractor’s request for a time extension due to an excusable delay. As a result, the contractor is obligated to accelerate the work to meet the original (or revised) contract completion date.
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At Asia Pacific Projects, we possess expertise in evaluating construction projects to identify the causes of schedule delays, determine responsibility for the delays, and quantify the costs associated with acceleration.

What does a constructive acceleration claim entail?

A constructive acceleration claim arises when a contractor faces an excusable delay but is instructed by the owner to complete the project by the original (or current) contract completion date.

Requirements for a constructive acceleration claim

To make a constructive acceleration claim, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The contractor experiences a delay caused by factors that entitle them to a time extension as per the contract.
  2. The contractor formally requests a time extension in accordance with the contract provisions for the delay.
  3. The owner denies the request for a time extension.
  4. The owner mandates the contractor to finish the work by the original (or current) contract completion date, or else liquidated damages will be imposed.
  5. The contractor intentionally accelerates the work by allocating additional resources or working additional hours.
  6. The contractor incurs additional costs as a result of the acceleration efforts.

It is important for all parties involved to mitigate the expenses associated with delays and acceleration. Contractors can minimize the impact of delays by adjusting the duration or sequence of activities, with a focus on critical path activities. While multiple shifts or overtime may seem necessary at times, it might be sufficient to allocate more resources to specific tasks.

Requirements for a constructive acceleration claim
Requirements for a constructive acceleration claim

Compensation for constructive acceleration claims

The costs involved in acceleration may include:

  1. Supplementing the workforce
  2. Overtime and premium time payments
  3. Additional equipment
  4. Loss of productivity
  5. Extra supervision
  6. Temporary facilities
  7. Costs related to expediting materials
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Contractors have the right to seek compensation for these additional costs through an acceleration claim. It is worth noting that the success of the acceleration efforts is not a prerequisite for making a claim, but the contractor must genuinely incur additional costs while making a legitimate attempt to accelerate the project.

How to file a constructive acceleration claim

To initiate a constructive acceleration claim, the contractor must provide evidence that satisfies the aforementioned criteria. This includes demonstrating the presence of an excusable delay, issuing proper notifications and requests for a time extension, the absence of granted extensions, the implementation of acceleration measures, and the subsequent incurrence of additional costs.

It is crucial to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the costs associated with acceleration. The calculated expenses should be reasonable, and the analysis, evaluations, assumptions, and methodologies used should be clearly and transparently explained. Substantiation of equipment and labor costs is also necessary, and expert testimony may be required to support the claimed damages through an independent analysis.

A construction acceleration claim should include the following components to facilitate the evaluation of the claim’s basis and the requested compensation:

  1. Demonstration of project schedule delays, specifying the impacted activities and the extent of their impact.
  2. Substantiation of the excusability of the delays according to the contract, establishing the contractor’s entitlement to a time extension.
  3. Documentation illustrating how the owner’s refusal to approve an extension led to constructive acceleration.
  4. Description of the steps taken by the contractor to expedite the work and recover from the excusable schedule delays.
  5. Quantification of the costs associated with the acceleration efforts.
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A well-crafted claim document is instrumental in achieving a prompt resolution that maximizes the recovery of damages resulting from acceleration.

For more information on how to file a constructive acceleration claim, please contact us at Asia Pacific Projects.

How to file a constructive acceleration claim
How to file a constructive acceleration claim

Contact Asia Pacific Projects 

Asia Pacific Projects is dedicated to turning your vision into reality. As experts in construction advice, we are committed to the success of your project. We solve complex problems and provide streamlined solutions to ensure you can build with confidence. Our services are tailored to meet your specific needs in project oversight, management, and forensic investigation. We can assist you with evaluating and quantifying your construction acceleration costs.

At Asia Pacific Projects, we operate as a unified firm, ready to serve you anywhere in the United States or abroad. You will receive the highest level of service we offer. Learn more about our dispute resolution services or contact us at Asia Pacific Projects for support at any stage of your project’s lifecycle.


Please send information or requests that you need to consult for Asia Pacific Projects via:

NGUYEN THI HIEU | Local Relations

Mobile phone: +84 918 331 489

Email: hieu.nguyen@appmvn.com

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