How Construction Claims Occur

Construction delay claims are delicate situations that have to be handled swiftly or they’ll turn out to be hazardous to a job-site. They typically involve the contractor and the owner in which the latter will have to prove that their work was ultimately delayed due to foreseen circumstances that ended up affecting the performance of the contract.

Building a Claim

Initially, the contractor will have to work with a specialist to create a claim that states every detail from how the project was designed to all the design flaws that prohibited them from finishing on the completed date. Once the claim has been filed, there is an option enter a mediation phase. Construction mediation involves both parties sitting down and working out a common solution. However, instead of the two parties exchanging words, a third party individual, the mediator, negotiates for both sides with an unbiased perspective.

The mediation process avoids both parties entering court and battling it out through the legal system. The mediation process alone already delays a construction project that is already taking place; entering court would only delay it further causing financial damages to pile up. This is why mediation has been viewed as an important, but optional, phase of a construction claim.

Float Time

There are multiple types of deadlines that are given to the contractor. Some projects are given float time, which isn’t a specific deadline but around a specific period to avoid and delays. However, some projects do not have a float time, making time an issue – and delays sometimes unavoidable.

Unforeseen Events

A delay of work will often delay the entire project. This is caused by unpredictable events, human error, or design flaws. While an optimistic mindset would be that the weather would hold up without any potential downpour, realistically these events do occur and can slow down a project substantially.

There are also other delays that occur because certain activities involve other activities – think domino effect. An example would be that the installation of drywall to a building won’t be able to begin until the electrical components that are required are installed first. The painting of the walls won’t be able to begin until the drywall is installed. These things are worked in sequences and although they are stated in the plans, they don’t always work the way that they should. Errors often occur in the construction field, which makes these claims extremely common.


Lyle Charles, of Lyle Charles Consulting, is a construction consultant with over 40 years experience working with steel.