A major domestic building contract must specify a date when the work will be finished, or the number of days that will be required to finish the work.
Delays and extensions of time
Most contracts allow builders to claim an extension to the finish date when their work is delayed. A lazy or disorganised builder who has fallen behind schedule may deliver a number of claims for extensions of time towards the end of the project.
Consumers should carefully read the provisions in their contract dealing with delays and extensions of time.
Building contracts normally only permit extensions of time in certain circumstances that are beyond the builder’s control; for example, inclement weather, certain industrial disputes, delays by the consumer, and variations to the plans requested by the consumer. Consumers should carefully scrutinise a builder’s claims for extensions of time to ensure they are allowed by the contract.
Section 32 of the DBCA requires a builder to make allowances in the contract for inclement weather, public holidays, weekends, rostered days off and any other delays. These allowances must be exhausted by the builder before the builder is entitled to an extension to the completion date under the contract.
Important to note: each day onsite involves some costs to the builder, for example, the hire of equipment and labour. Delays caused by the consumer will normally attract a claim for additional money arising from the extended period that a builder is required to be onsite to complete the work. The consumer should be careful to avoid delaying the builder’s work.
Most contracts require that a claim for an extension of time be made strictly in accordance with specific procedural requirements. While every contract prescribes its own procedure, certain processes tend to be common. A notice of delay and the intention to make a claim is usually required first. Following this, a formal claim is usually required, in accordance with the process set out in the contract.
The notice of delay is generally a notice ‘for information only’ and is not a claim. Contract administrators need to be aware of the distinction between a notice of delay and the making of a claim. The time bar is a clause or condition which limits the time within which certain contractual rights can be enforced. A notice must be given under a contract in order for it to be effective in building up a contractual entitlement. Time bars occur in construction contracts in different clauses for different purposes. For example, latent conditions, extensions of time, progress payments and disputes.
The Planbuild guarantee: we factor in time costs and allowances for unexpected delays upfront so that our customers do not have expectations that are unmet, our motto is on time build and customer satisfaction guarantee.