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Prior to initiating a claim for added costs or schedule extensions, contractors are required to inform their clients about any delays that have occurred. Typically, the submission of a notice of delay is a prerequisite for making a claim to extend the project completion date or seek compensation. To delve deeper, let’s explore the various types of delays commonly encountered in construction projects, Notice of Delay for a Construction and examine clauses related to delay notice within contracts, and outline essential elements to include when drafting a notice of delay.

Types of delays

Delays in construction projects can be classified based on three key characteristics:

  1. Criticality:

    • Critical Delays: These impact the project completion date or other significant milestones by affecting the critical path. Critical delays cannot be recovered, leading to an extension of the project schedule.
    • Noncritical Delays: These impact the completion of specific activities but do not hinder the overall project completion.
  2. Avoidability:

    • Excusable Delays: These are beyond the contractor’s control, such as adverse weather conditions, and are typically outlined in the contract as valid reasons for extending the project schedule.
    • Inexcusable Delays: Caused by the contractor’s actions, these delays usually do not result in a claim for additional costs or a schedule extension.
  3. Compensability:

    • Compensable Delays: If the affected party is entitled to an extension or compensation due to the delay. Excusable delays are generally compensable as they are outside the contractor’s control, while inexcusable delays are typically non-compensable.

This classification helps define the nature and impact of delays on construction projects, providing clarity on whether compensation or schedule extensions may be warranted.

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How to Write a Notice of Delay for a Construction Project: A Contractor’s Guide
How to Write a Notice of Delay for a Construction Project: A Contractor’s Guide

Delay notice contract clauses

To determine whether a contractor is required to issue a notice and the stipulated deadline for doing so, it is crucial to review the contract. Contracts typically contain clauses addressing delays or notices of claims, outlining the specific requirements for their submission.

Given the challenges of accurately assessing the impact of a delay on a project, it is advisable to adopt the practice of issuing a delay notice whenever such an event occurs.

Let’s consider the Notice of Delay for a Construction of Claims clause in the AIA A201, General Conditions, for example:

“15.1.3.1 Claims by either the Owner or Contractor, where the condition giving rise to the Claim is first discovered prior to expiration of the period for correction of the Work set forth in section 12.2.2, shall be initiated by notice to the other party and to the Initial Decision Maker with a copy sent to the Architect, if the Architect is not serving as the Initial Decision Maker. Claims by either party under this section 15.1.3.1 shall be initiated within 21 days after occurrence of the event giving rise to such Claim or within 21 days after the claimant first recognizes the condition giving rise to the Claim, whichever is later.”

Subsequent clauses specify that to make a claim for additional costs or additional time, the contractor must provide notice in accordance with section 15.1.3.1 mentioned above.

Here’s another similar clause with a more concise deadline:

“Immediately, and in no event no later than ten (10) days after first believing an event may give rise to or result in a Change due to any delay under this Agreement, the Private Entity shall notify the Owner’s Representative in writing.

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The notification must identify the difficulties, the reasons for them, and the estimated period of delay anticipated.

Failure to give such notice in strict compliance with this Section 10.3 will waive any right by Private Entity to make a claim based upon such delay. Such notice shall be a condition precedent to Private Entity’s right to pursue any claim for an adjustment to payment or schedule based upon such delay.”

Scheduling to mitigate construction delays

Effective scheduling is paramount in mitigating construction delays, as it serves as the guiding framework for project timelines and dependencies.

Notice of Delay for a Construction, the construction schedule essentially becomes the project’s roadmap, outlining when specific activities will commence, their anticipated durations, and the projected completion date. Given that numerous activities are contingent upon the completion of preceding tasks, a well-structured schedule is essential.

In the context of large commercial construction projects, the critical path method (CPM) is often employed for scheduling. This method involves:

  1. Comprehensive Activity List: Compiling a detailed list of all major activities and tasks essential for project completion.

  2. Activity Durations: Estimating the expected duration for each activity.

  3. Activity Sequencing: Determining the sequence of activities and identifying any dependencies among them.

  4. Milestones: Establishing milestones or deliverables at the conclusion of each activity.

The critical path, a fundamental component of CPM, represents the longest continuous sequence of activities in the schedule. Any delays occurring on the critical path have a cascading effect, potentially causing delays to the entire project timeline. Therefore, a well-structured schedule that considers dependencies and critical paths is crucial for proactive delay management in construction projects.

Scheduling to mitigate construction delays
Scheduling to mitigate construction delays

What to include in a Notice of Delay for a Construction

It’s crucial to emphasize that a notice of delay is distinct from a claim; instead, it serves as an initial notification regarding potential grounds for a claim. In certain contracts, compensation for delays may be contingent on the submission of a notice of delay. Therefore, it is advisable to consistently send such notices whenever a delay occurs.

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Unless specified otherwise in the contract, a notice of delay can be transmitted through email or written correspondence and should be directed to the contracting party.

The notice of delay should encompass three essential elements.

What to include in a Notice of Delay for a Construction
What to include in a Notice of Delay for a Construction

1. Details of the Delay:

Provide a concise narrative explaining the events leading to the delay and its impact on the project timeline. Include an estimated duration of the delay if available.

2. Potential Costs or Impacts of the Delay:

Clearly outline any foreseeable additional costs or implications resulting from the delay. This should encompass expenses related to labor, materials, equipment, and overhead. If a schedule extension is anticipated, provide an approximate timeline.

3. Proof or Evidence to Support the Claim:

Include supporting documentation to validate the cause and potential consequences of the delay. This evidence might consist of photographs depicting any damage, official weather reports, communication records with vendors or contractors, copies of invoices, or any relevant documents.

In conclusion, mastering the art of crafting a Notice of Delay for a Construction Project is crucial for effective communication in the realm of construction management. As demonstrated in this guide by APPMVN, understanding the types of delays, contract clauses, and the vital components to include in the notice empowers contractors to navigate complexities seamlessly. Proactive communication through timely notices not only fulfills contractual obligations but also fosters a collaborative and informed project environment. As APPMVN continues to provide insightful information, we encourage construction professionals to leverage these skills for enhanced project management and successful outcomes.

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