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CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS EXPERT | RIGHT TO FINISH EARLY

Holloway Consulting provides construction claims expert services and many other services to a wide range of construction clients. Some of Holloway Consulting’s past projects and cases wherein we provided construction claims expert services are shown at Construction Cases and Consulting Engagements.

CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS EXPERT | CONTRACTOR’S RIGHT TO FINISH EARLY

CONTRACTOR’S COSTS

A construction contractor can save money in time-related costs and field overhead if a project can be finished ahead of the contract completion date. Correspondingly, a contractor may be damaged and may have a valid claim when the owner causes delay and prevents the contractor from accomplishing early completion. Although contracts will normally not include a clause relating to early completion, the contractor typically enjoys the right to finish early.

SCHEDULE DELAY CLAIMS

Holloway Consulting’s experience as a construction claims expert is that many owners believe that a contractor cannot successfully assert a delay claim as long as the work to be performed under the contract is completed within the scheduled contract duration. When a contractor asserts that it could have finished early absent the owner’s interference, the owner often counters by contending that the contractor completed its work within the allowed contract time and, therefore, the contractor has not suffered any damages. A CPM schedule analysis, properly performed, will assist the contractor in supporting its case.

LAW ON EARLY COMPLETION

Although the laws on early completion claims varies from state-to-state, the weight of the law appears to be that early completion claims should pass the following tests:

1. The contractor will have communicated to the owner an intention to complete early and must provide the proper documentation.5

2. The schedule indicating an early finish should be feasible and reasonable and prepared in accordance with industry standards.

3. Owner actions or inactions that interfere with the contractor from completing early in accordance with the approved schedule must be demonstrated.

OWNER’S SCHEDULE REVIEW

When the owner retains Holloway Consulting as a construction claims expert, we advise the Owner to review the schedules to determine the contractor’s intentions to complete early. If the owner, for reasons pertaining to schedule, wishes to encourage early completion, then the owner should ensure that the schedule is reasonable and must, by its actions, do nothing to interfere with that early schedule. The owner should ensure that its required approvals and actions are feasible within the time limits suggested by the schedule. At the same time, the contractor must not be responsible for any actions that would create concurrent delays thereby nullifying owner interferences. If a schedule showing early completion is accepted without question, a contractor’s delay claim may be upheld even though the contractor completed its work within the original contract period.6

If the owner does not wish to encourage early completion, then specific provisions pertaining to float may be included in the general requirements or special conditions. Early completion says, in effect, that there is float on all paths and that there is no critical path, except that path leading to the early completion date. Generally, experienced professionals would be reluctant to endorse a clause such as this. If the contractor feels it could complete early, the contractor may be discouraged from using the project schedule and use a modified schedule.

Schedules in support of early completion claims should be based on contemporaneous documents prepared in the normal course of business. In any event, contractors should comply with milestone dates for owner-provided equipment, materials, services, etc. Owners whose projects must fit within a closely coordinated overall program schedule should ensure that such dates are adequately communicated to all contractors in the bid documents.

Read Holloway’s next post on Construction Claims . . .

Holloway Consulting
Construction Claims Experts
12081 W. Alameda Pkwy., #450
Lakewood, CO 80228-2701
Denver Phone: (303) 984-1941
International : (888) 545-0666
Fax: (303) 716-0432

Email: steve.holloway@disputesinconstruction.com
Blog: disputesinconstruction.com
Web: hcgexperts.com

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