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Concurrent Delays in Contracts

"Basic principles are often taught wrong, learned wrong and applied wrong."
Gordon Aronson, P.E., (discussing schedules)

Keywords: Construction Contracts, Delays, Damages, Claims.

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Concurrent Delays in Contracts [P011]

"Time is money" is an often heard statement in the construction industry, a statement that drives and motivates every player engaged in the construction industry. Ironically it is the dual elements of time and money that cause some of the most time and money consuming disputes.

One of the most troubled and complicated area is that relating to the concept of concurrent delay, which is a strongly contested topic in the building and construction industry. Both parties to a construction contract regularly use concurrent delay as an excuse to avoid responsibility for extension of time claims and the assessment of liquidated damages. To date there has been no uniform application of legal principles to the concept of concurrent delay. This is largely due to the fact that the answer to the concurrent delay dilemma is complicated because it is requires consideration of the interaction of many different factors.

The aim of this paper is twofold. The first is to identify the variety of principles or methodologies that may be followed in resolving parallel delays disputes arising out of a construction contract. To this end, the first part of this paper will examine the standard form contracts and other legal and technical methodology or principles adopted or applied by courts in dealing with parallel delays disputes.

The second is to outline the various practical aspects relating to dealing with concurrent delays disputes. The second part of the paper will examine methods of assessing concurrent delays, categories of information that must be sourced in resolving parallel delays disputes and practical contractual management techniques in securing relevant and contemporaneous information to deal with the consequences of parallel delays within a construction contract.

Author: Jim Doyle Dip.CE, MIE (Aust), BEc (Hons), LLB (Hons). Partner, Doyles Construction Lawyers
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