Delay and disruption in construction projects
Delay and disruption in construction projects

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

  • Delay and disruption in construction projects
  • Introduction to delay and disruption
  • What is delay?
  • What is disruption?
  • Analysing delay and disruption
  • The Society of Construction Law Delay and Disruption Protocol
  • Delay and disruption claims against third parties

Introduction to delay and disruption

A construction contract will, ordinarily, specify the date by which the works are to be completed (the 'completion date'). However, during the course of a construction project, it is common for events to occur which delay or disrupt the progress of the works and which may, as a result, affect the contractor’s ability to complete the works by the completion date. Delay and disruption are some of the most common causes of claims and disputes on construction projects.

It is important to distinguish between delay and disruption—the difference between these two concepts is, in programme terms, the difference between critical and non-critical delay. Disruption is often mistakenly treated the same as delay, and they are commonly talked about together (as 'delay and disruption') as though they are the same thing and their implications are the same. Delay and disruption are, however, two distinct concepts. How delay or disruption are dealt with will depend both on the relevant cause of each and their impact on the contractor’s ability to complete the works in accordance with the contractual programme. Definitions of these concepts are set out below.

In general, if the works are not completed by the completion date due to delay or disruption, and such delay or disruption is the contractor’s fault, then the contractor will be