Claims under construction contracts—time bars and conditions precedent
Claims under construction contracts—time bars and conditions precedent

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

  • Claims under construction contracts—time bars and conditions precedent
  • Why have a time bar provision?
  • Is a time bar clause always a condition precedent?
  • Requirements for a condition precedent
  • Conditions precedent in standard form contracts
  • The prevention principle
  • Is there an exclusive remedies clause?
  • Time bar provisions in operation
  • Practical considerations

Construction contracts commonly provide that, if a party wishes to bring a claim under the contract, it must follow a prescribed procedure. This often requires the claiming party to give a particular notice, sometimes followed by a further notice and/or more detailed information, to the other party and/or contract administrator, which may have to be in a particular format and meet specific requirements as to content. Often, these notice provisions also contain what is commonly referred to as a ‘time bar’ provision, meaning that the claiming party must give the notice(s) within a specified period of time.

If the time bar is a condition precedent, then a failure to comply with the provisions of the contract will mean that the claiming party loses its entitlement to bring the claim, no matter how strong its claim would otherwise have been. The use of such time bar clauses has become increasingly common and they now appear in some of the standard form contracts (see Conditions precedent in standard form contracts below).

Most commonly, condition precedent time bars apply in relation to time and money claims, ie a claim by a contractor for:

  1. an extension of time to the date for completion (for more information, see Practice Note: Extensions of time under construction contracts), and/or

  2. additional costs incurred as a result of disturbance to the regular