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Is a construction delay a material breach of contract?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Construction Litigation |

When two parties enter into an agreement for the construction of a commercial or residential property, there are many aspects of the project that will need to be addressed. A construction contract may specify:

  • Parties involved (e.g., names of contractors, names of homeowners)
  • Scope of work
  • Project costs
  • Licensing and permit requirements
  • Stop-work clauses
  • Breach of contract remedies
  • Deadlines

The contract will likely include multiple deadlines, including a final deadline marking the project’s completion. Generally, the parties responsible for the construction of the structure owe a duty to the client to complete the project in accordance with the terms of the contract. If there is no date specified, the project must be completed within a reasonable timeframe. Failure to do so may constitute a material breach of contract in certain circumstances.

Is a delay a material breach of contract?

While a delay in performance is always a breach of contract, it is not necessarily a material breach of contract. Material breaches of contract have a negative impact on the heart of the project, undermining the purpose of the contract altogether. If there is a substantial delay caused by the negligence of the builder or contractor that resulted in financial harm to the client, it will likely be considered a material breach. Excusable construction delays caused by unavoidable conditions such as bad weather or ‘acts of God’ may not be classified as material, as they are beyond the control of the builder or contractor.

What damages can I recover from a material breach of contract?

If your contractor failed to meet significant deadlines for your project, you may be able to recover compensatory damages to cover losses incurred by the breach of contract, as well as liquidated damages. A Georgia attorney specializing in construction litigation can help file your claim and establish the material breach that occurred.