Can Delay in a Construction Project be Considered a Breach?
Southern California construction disputes attorneys can provide assistance in situations where a contract for residential or commercial construction may have been breached. There are many different situations where a potential breach occurs. One such situation: when a substantial delay occurs as a construction project is being completed.
Determining whether a delay is considered a breach of contract or not can be very complicated. An experienced attorney can provide assistance in determining if a breach occurred based on a failure to perform according to a contractual schedule or based on a failure to complete a construction project within a reasonable period of time.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has helped many developers, contractors, and property owners in situations where a construction contract was allegedly breached. Our legal team can provide assistance in understanding what your rights are and in pursuing a claim for reasonable damages when a party to a construction contract did not perform as promised. To find out more about how our legal team can help you, give us a call today.
When is a Delay Considered a Breach of a Construction Contract?
A delay can constitute a breach of a construction contract under a variety of different circumstances. The most obvious and clearcut situation in which a delay is considered a breach is when a contract specifies a date by which construction must be completed and that date passes without the agreed-upon work being performed.
However, even if there is no specific deadline for when construction may be completed, there is still an expectation that a project will be finished within a reasonable period of time. If a contractor simply disappears in the midst of construction and fails to work on the project and/or fails to provide continued updates, this could be considered abandonment of the project and a breach of the contract to complete the construction as promised.
Of course, there are some circumstances in which a delay happens not because of the actions of the builder or contractor but because of circumstances beyond the builder’s control. If there is an act of God, such as a major natural or man-made disaster that prevents continued construction or that results in a lengthy delay in the construction process, this intervening and unexpected event could be considered justification for the delay. Under these circumstances, a developer or builder typically would not be held responsible for the consequences of a delay in the completion of the construction project because the delay would of course be beyond the control of the builder.
Damages for a Breach of a Construction Contract
When a breach of a construction contract occurs, a claim may be filed to obtain monetary damages for losses. An Irvine construction disputes attorney can provide assistance to plaintiffs in arguing for full compensation for all losses that occurred due to the failure to perform according to the construction contract.
In Amerson v. Christman (3d Dist. 1968), the California court held that damages could be determined by considering the loss of use of the property during the delay. This could include, for example, the loss of the rental value of the property. Other foreseeable losses naturally resulting from delay or damage to the property may also be appropriate.
Some construction contacts contain liquidated damages clauses, which specify an amount of damages that will be assessed in situations where a delay occurs or other breach occurs. Liquidated damage clauses are often enforced by the court, but will not generally be enforceable if the effect of the clause is that the damage acts as a penalty. Liquidated damages are typically enforceable in situations where calculating actual loss could be difficult and where the specified amount of compensation is a reasonable estimation of the losses experienced due to the breach.
Brown & Charbonneau, LLP understands California laws on damages in cases of construction delays and can provide assistance in trying to negotiate a settlement or argue for the maximum compensation to be paid based on the losses that occurred due to the delay.
Getting Help from an Orange County Construction Disputes Attorney
Whether there is a delay in a construction project or something else goes wrong and the parties do not carry out their obligations under the contract terms, it is important to understand your rights. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help. Give us a call at 866-237-8129 or contact us online today to talk with an Irvine construction disputes attorney to find out more about what options you have for seeking a legal remedy when a construction contract may have been breached.