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Delay clauses in construction contracts

When you are having a house built, there are few things as frustrating as seeing delays throw off the projected timetable. This can box you into a corner.

For instance, you may have already sold the home you live in. You may have given the new owners an occupancy date based on when you thought you could move into the new house. If that job runs far behind schedule, you now have to move twice, pay to rent a new place to live and deal with many other hassles that you did not expect and don't deserve.

You may feel like you have a right to take legal action, and that could be true. It is crucial to understand exactly what language is in your construction contract. If a completion date is specified, then that is part of what you're paying for. You agreed to the contract on the grounds that the company would be done by that date. Not completing the house until after that date could violate your contract.

However, many contractors know that delays come up and may be unavoidable. As a result, they will add clauses that allow them to delay the project for specific reasons. You need to know exactly how these clauses are worded to determine whether you can take legal action or not.

For instance, the builder may be covered if the parts and materials do not arrive on time. However, delays may not be allowed if the crew does not show up to work for days on end.

In some cases, a subcontractor may cause the delays. When this happens, the general contractor may then need to know if the subcontractor breached their written contract and delayed the project for everyone else. The more complex the project, the more people are involved, and the greater the potential for issues.

When delays strike, knowledge is power. Make sure you understand your contract and exactly what legal options are available to you for contract dispute resolution.

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