How delays can lead to construction contract disputes

On Behalf of Dunlap Fiore, LLC |

Levelset reported that less than 30% of construction projects finish on time. Even though delays are common within the industry, they can still lead to many issues.

Delay disputes are all too common. Preparing for them ahead of time can make the process go more smoothly and avoid serious issues. It helps to understand how delays can lead to problems.

Financial implications

Delays can have a domino effect on construction projects, leading to increased costs. Contractors may have to pay their workers for longer periods, deal with storage fees for materials or face penalties for missing deadlines. When these extra expenses pile up, it can strain the project’s budget and lead to disputes over who should bear the additional costs.

Scheduling conflicts

Construction projects are often intricate jigsaw puzzles where each task relies on the completion of the previous one. Delays in one aspect of the project can create scheduling conflicts that ripple throughout the entire timeline. This can result in disputes among contractors and subcontractors over priority and access to resources.

Quality compromises

Rushing to make up for lost time can compromise the quality of work. Contractors may cut corners or skip necessary inspections to meet deadlines. This can lead to disputes calling the quality of the work into question.

Breach of contract

Construction contracts typically include specific timelines and deadlines. When one party fails to meet these obligations due to delays, it can lead to accusations of a breach of contract. Contractors may find themselves in disputes over the terms of the agreement and whether the delays were justifiable or not.


Delays can also result from miscommunication or a lack of clear documentation. When parties do not adequately communicate changes in project scope or timelines, disputes can arise as each party may have a different understanding of the project’s progress and expectations.

Delays happen in the industry, but contractors can take proactive measures to protect themselves. Clear contracts, thorough documentation, effective communication and dispute resolution mechanisms can help contractors navigate the challenges of construction projects and minimize the risk of disputes that can be costly and time-consuming to resolve.