The construction process can be involved and complicated. Scores of individuals—from owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and laborers—work together to complete a large and complex process in creating a building that meets stated federal, state, and local regulations as well as achieving the goals of its owner. This process can be facilitated by a construction lawyer.
With a large number of active workers and other interested parties, a construction project should have a schedule and system with room built in to the schedule for unforeseen delays in order to complete a project on time and on-budget. Since these large construction projects involve large and expensive equipment, and a fluxuating level of manpower, the longer a construction job takes, the more complications arise, which is why having a construction lawyer on retainer can help to smooth the process.
Since most litigation comes from changes in the construction process, it becomes important to understand the differences between the two types of claims in construction law: disruption claims and delay claims. The first step is to fully understand the contract. In many cases, what can be construed as disruption or delay claims are listed in the contract. Meeting with a construction lawyer can give an idea of how these claims are negotiated in any contract.
Delay vs Disruption
In construction law, delays are single acts or events that ultimately promote conditions in which the project completion or work done on the project may start or end later than originally planned.
Disruption may include the effects of a single problem or multiple other delays, as well as interruptions to the supply line or other work activity planned for completion of the project.
Delays can lead to disruptions, and disruptions can lead to more delays. This shared relationship between delays and disruptions can affect the timeline of construction and increase the costs of the project as a whole.
Making Claims in Construction Law
For most owners and contractors, its vital to understand one’s contract. Meeting with a construction lawyer can help to determine what is considered worthy of making a claim based on delay or disruption.
Just like the rest of the construction process, following the set rules of law helps the construction team to consider what is a delay or a disruption. A construction lawyer will be able to process the contracts to identify any set end dates for the completion of certain projects in the larger construction plan or for the ending of all construction work. A delay claim can be made if the work stretches far beyond the scheduled finish dates. From inclement weather to bad decision-making to on-site accidents, delays can happen at any time—acts of god or accidents. Disruption claims, however, come from actions that make the construction process more expensive to perform or more difficult to process than originally planned in the contract.
Since there is an overlap in delay and disruption, knowing construction law helps to determine the liability of the individuals involved in the process. For example, if a contractor fails to complete a project on time, they may be liable for both disruption and delay claims, depending on the situation. An owner or a contractor may be liable for disruption if they fail to manage their subcontractors efficiently, making it hard for multiple trade workers to complete their scheduled tasks by the given timeline. For example, the plumbing and electric must be finished before the drywalling begins, and if the drywall workers are forced to wait around for completion of other projects, the owner or contractor may be liable for a disruption claim.