A construction company must perform according to the contract guidelines. When something happens that significantly delays the project from proceeding forward, the owner may start placing the blame on the contractor. While some delays in construction may come down to third-parties, as in late-arriving materials from vendors, there are other times when it is the contractor dragging his or her feet. Take a look at when a delay in construction may become a contract performance breach. 

Excusable delays 

Both parties in the contract may experience delays that the law considers excusable. These delays come about when an outside force affects the project. For example, if the owner’s financial backer falls on hard times, the owner may have to delay the project, but only until another financier signs on. This is an excusable delay so long as it ends within a reasonable time. If the weather makes it impossible for the contractor to proceed forward for days or even weeks, the delay is not his or her fault. 

Inexcusable delays 

Contract breach and legal liability come into play when there is an inexcusable delay in the project. This may happen on the contractor’s side when there is a halt in work for no discernable reason. If a subcontractor bails on the project, it may stop for a short time; however, it is up to the primary contract holder to get things back on track. If this does not happen in a reasonable timeframe, the owner may consider it an inexcusable delay. These types of stalls in a project generally cost the owner money as the property will not reach completion on time and, as such, will not generate money. 

Understanding what type of delay is happening may help decide how to proceed. A delay caused by one of the parties without legitimate reasons may warrant legal action.