Acceleration of construction works
Acceleration of construction works

The following Construction guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Acceleration of construction works
  • What is acceleration?
  • Express acceleration (or directed/instructed acceleration)
  • Implied acceleration (or constructive acceleration)

What is acceleration?

Acceleration in construction law is generally understood to mean taking measures to speed up the works in order to complete them earlier than would otherwise be the case. However, there is no legal definition of acceleration.

In Ascon v Alfred McAlpine, the court observed:

‘“Acceleration” tends to be bandied about as if it were a term of art with a precise technical meaning, but I have found nothing to persuade me that that is the case. The root concept behind the metaphor is no doubt that of increasing speed and therefore, in the context of a construction contract, of finishing earlier. On that basis “accelerative measures” are steps taken, it is assumed at an increased expense, with a view to achieving that end.’

The Society of Construction Law Delay and Disruption Protocol (SCL Protocol) describes acceleration as:

‘The application of additional resources or alternative construction sequences or methodologies seeking to achieve the planned scope of work in a shorter time than planned or execution of additional scope of work within the original planned duration.’

Acceleration often has financial and logistical repercussions for both the employer and the contractor. Where acceleration takes place on a construction project, it can be driven by either the contractor or the employer, or both parties. Acceleration traditionally falls into two categories:

  1. express (also known as directed