Like death and taxes, construction delays are inevitable. Even the most cautious, diligent contractor may face subcontractor disputes, supply shortages, or inclement weather which slows down a project. Even if the contractor avoids unexpected problems, the sheer complexity of a job may cause a contractor to exceed the deadlines proposed in a contract.
Fortunately, courts recognize the practical reality of construction projects and the unavoidable delays which may arise. Therefore, as a general rule, a contractor is only liable for delayed completion of a project if the delay resulted from the contractor’s unreasonable performance of his or her work. Reasonable performance will typically serve as a defense to a claim of delayed completion. This defense is a vital asset when a contractor surpasses the project’s expected timeframe.