Delay and damages in construction disputes encompasses two distinct, yet interconnected concepts. Delay refers to any unforeseen and unreasonable deviation from the original construction schedule, resulting in the project taking longer than planned. Delays can be caused by various factors, including:
- Contractor-related: Inefficient work practices, subcontractor issues, poor planning, or delayed material deliveries.
- Owner-related: Design changes, late decisions, inadequate financing, or delays in providing site access.
- External factors: Unforeseen weather events, strikes, material shortages, or permit delays.
Damages represent the financial compensation awarded to a party who has suffered harm due to a breach of contract or negligence. In construction cases, damages typically arise from delays as they increase the project’s overall cost and time commitment. Common types of damages claimed include:
- Direct costs: Extended labor costs, idle equipment expenses, increased overhead expenses, and additional financing charges.
- Consequential damages: Lost profits from delayed use of the completed project, decreased market value of the completed project, and damage to the contractor’s reputation.
Establishing who is responsible for the delay and the extent of damages awarded involves complex legal analyses. Key considerations include:
- Contractual provisions: Clauses relating to delay damages, excusable delays, and notification requirements influence who bears the financial burden.
- Causation: Identifying the party whose actions or omissions directly contributed to the delay.
- Quantification of damages: Estimating the precise financial impact of the delay through expert testimony and specialized analyses.
VERTEX has experience serving as an expert witness for construction disputes and opining on delay and/or damages. In delay claims, VERTEX experts review project schedules, change orders, daily reports, and other documents to reconstruct the project timeline. They utilize scheduling software and analytical techniques to assess impacts of different events on the overall schedule. When quantifying damages, VERTEX’s experts calculate the financial impact of the delay based on increased labor costs due to the extended project duration, additional overhead expenses from prolonged equipment rental, project management fees and/or financing charges. They also opine on potential loss of profit if the delay affects the project’s revenue generation. VERTEX’s experts provide clear and concise explanations, and back their opinions with specific evidence and data from the project documents, industry standards, and relevant case law.