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How to manage timeline disputes in construction

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Construction Law |

Construction projects happen in phases, and those have to be carefully coordinated. Timing is always going to be essential, especially when time costs money. 

When a project falls out of step and the phases aren’t lining up, disputes over the delays, acceleration demands or project scope can erupt. These disputes can start with the owner, the contractor or third parties that are involved, but they all cause major problems.

What can you do to minimize timeline disputes?

Essentially you have to be proactive. Here are some steps to take:

  • Have well-drafted contracts. Contracts are designed to manage everybody’s expectations and set some ground rules regarding timelines, as well as what might define an “excused” delay. They can also set consequences for unexcused delays, which can serve as a deterrent.
  • Be clear in your communications. Ask for regular updates with all the involved parties so that you’re never taken by surprise by a change in the situation. That can help you stay ahead of any real problems with the timelines. Document all of your communication as you go, so that you can always point back to exactly when, where and how things went off-track.
  • Decide on an effective method of delay analysis: Claims can be made over delays, but you need factual information that shows exactly who is to blame for the problems – and disputes over that are common. Several different methods of delay analysis can be considered, but agreeing to a method in your contracts can make the process easier.  

Effective project management, clear contractual terms and strong communication are all key to preventing timeline disputes in construction – but nothing is perfect. If you find yourself headed for legal entanglements, it may be time to seek detailed and tailored guidance.