Delays on Site? Act Now Or Be Clobbered Later!


At its simplest, events which are beyond your control, and cause you to take longer to complete than originally planned entitle you to an extension to the contract period.

The amount of time to be added to the contract period for delaying events should be calculated logically and methodically by the Contractor, and in turn if those events have delayed the Contractor, they should be dealt with upstream by the Contract Administrator, or Architect.

All of this should be done impartially and objectively. But it never is!

In practice what regularly happens, is that the Contractor refuses to, or fails to grant extensions of time and reacts either adversely or apathetically to you having asked!

You need to be prepared for this and not be put off by it, and whatever you do don’t ignore it!


Most sub-contracts will require you to identify any cause of delay or likely delay to progress, and to notify the Contractor of that delay and estimate the effect on the date for completion.

Even if it doesn’t say that, it is a good discipline to adopt in any event.

You should also be very wary of Contractor’s onerous notification requirements that are designed to prevent your entitlement to extension of time!

And don’t fall for the age old trick of the Contractor saying “There’s no need to be contractual” or “we will sort it out at the end” or any other BS. It’s a trap – don’t fall into it!


Specialist Contractors routinely get clobbered financially by Contractors because they have allegedly delayed the Works, and have no records or notices to say otherwise.

Setting aside any commercial considerations (but why worry about upsetting someone who is trying to screw you?), one of the main reasons Specialist Contractors get clobbered is that there is a good deal of uncertainty about what to do , and they end up like rabbits caught in the headlights.

We routinely see Contractors setting off monies for alleged delay in the tens and hundreds of £thousands!

Don’t let it happen to you.


There are some key measures that you can implement now:

  • Understand your programme obligations under the contract, in particular the start date, duration and completion date.
  • If you cannot proceed with your work due to preceding trades, record the fact with an email, letter or fax, doing nothing is fatal.
  • Understand the requirements for submitting applications for extensions of time, as in some circumstances you may lose your entitlement with a late application.
  • If there are other delays being incurred in regard to information or variations, record the fact with an email letter or fax.
  • Take dated photographs of anything that is delaying your progress.
  • If it becomes evident that you will not complete by the completion date, you must be able to demonstrate it’s not your fault.

You must apply for and do whatever it takes to demonstrate your entitlement to an extension of time.

Not doing so puts you at massive financial risk.


Once you get your head around such matters, it all makes sense, so don’t let the way contracts are drafted, or the Contractor’s reactions put you off.

And remember that if you need any help to resolve such problems, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone, take action and give us a call.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it gave you some food for thought, and I sincerely hope to speak with you soon and see you at the biggest event of the year for Specialist Contractors, our ‘Win Work – Get Paid – Make Money’ Conference on 14th July 2015.

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