Construction delays raise legal issues with California building projects

The construction industry in California is blessed with good building weather. While it may get hot during the summer months, building projects can proceed year-round. Unfortunately, whether due to weather, financing or employee issues, delays with construction projects are common.

Time is money and money is often tight, no matter the size of the construction project. While some delays can be prevented, some are inevitable and appropriate remedies and solutions should be factored into every California construction contract.

Common reasons for delays

  • Weather: Even in California a little rain must fall. Stormy weather, mudslides from heavy rains, earthquakes and high winds can easily keep workers off a construction site. The weatherman cannot accurately predict what each day will bring and neither can general contractors or subcontractors. Always pad your deadlines with extra time to allow for weather delays and your budget for extra measures necessary to protect your jobsite from adverse conditions.
  • Inspections: The construction industry is highly regulated and a number of inspections are required at numerous points during the building process. Much time can be wasted waiting for a crucial inspection and inspectors are not always available right when needed. A general contractor should keep tabs on the subcontractors and anticipate when inspections will be needed to keep the ball rolling.
  • Subcontractors and suppliers: Hiring others to complete various aspects of a project is not without its difficulties. Many subcontractors are working on many projects at the same time and a delay in another project may affect yours. Some may not be reliable and failure to do their parts can cause construction delays at crucial times. Delivery of supplies - especially custom-made items - can be delayed by problems at the manufacturing plant, demise of a supplier or slip-ups in ordering. Keep these contingencies in mind when establishing deadlines.
  • Changes: As every architect and contractor knows, the owner can (and will) change his or her mind as the project proceeds. While some requests may be minor, every little change requires extra time and some changes are show-stopping. All parties to the project should understand before the first shovelful is filled that change requests will incur extra time and money. Address details about handling change orders in the construction contract and make sure all are aware that each step affects the next.

Consult a construction attorney

The construction industry is fraught with legal disputes but an experienced California lawyer can help. Consult an attorney knowledgeable about construction law to help you avoid and resolve construction lawsuits.