Wise Up Wednesday – Dealing With Delay And Disruption

It’s a scary thought, but the third month of the year has ended already.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

And as “fun” is not something that we naturally associate with construction, our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides should help you to to stay  focused on doing the right things in your business, and give you a quick burst of useful information that might just help you to ease the pressure.

Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

Dealing With Delay and Disruption!

Let’s face it delay and disruption is a common occurrence within the construction industry.

Delay and disruption can be caused by a variety of factors but high on the list is poor planning and programming. We have all experienced Contractors who couldn’t plan their way to the bar in Wetherspoons, and unfortunately what tends to happen is that all their Sub-Contractors suffer as a result!

If you do not complete your works by the contractual completion date and you cannot claim an extension of time, you may incur liability for substantial costs arising from the delay.

Remember that under most forms of sub-contract, liquidated and ascertained damages imposed on the Main Contractor by the Employer will be just part of a thick sandwich of costs you can become liable for in the form of a claim against you for general damages. The other parts of the claim being the Contractor’s own costs and any other Sub-Contractor that makes a claim against him as a result of your delay.

(You can find more information about the difference between liquidated and general damages on our web site)

When you are being delayed by circumstances and problems beyond your control, you have to be able to demonstrate the impact of those problems on your progress. It is imperative therefore that you plan and programme your works right from the start.

Ideally, planning should start at the time when you tender for the works. Your estimate of the cost of the work should take into account the proposed method of working and the time required/allowed to carry out the work.

In order to plan and programme effectively you need to know a certain amount of time related information which should be set out in the tender documents, but may not be!

This information should include:

…the dates of possession and completion of the main contract works

…the order of works

…the dates between which the sub-contract works can be commenced

…the period required to approve drawings after submission.

When submitting your tender, you should set out the following information:

…the period you require for submissions of your drawings

…the time required for the execution of works on site

…the notice which you require to commence on site

…the period required for off site work prior to commencement on site

…any other relevant time related information

It is essential that these items are completed carefully; taking into account all the factors which you consider will affect your works.

By including such items in your tender you will be identifying the factors outside your control (such as preceding works by other trades) that need to be in place to enable you to complete your works.

If these factors change when you subsequently come to do the work, then it will be easier to demonstrate that you have been prevented from completing your works in the way that you envisaged.

But, be careful, because the downside is that you will probably be contractually committed to complying with the programme information you have put forward.

As always, I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and if you need any help tackling the problems arising from delay and disruption, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.

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