Myth #1: The Contract Expires After the Building Period Ends
The building period is the agreed-upon timeframe for the completion of the construction project. Nevertheless, unforeseen events like modifications to the initial plan, a lack of construction supplies, or severe weather conditions could occur during the construction process and cause delays.
aIn such circumstances, the builder may ask for an extension of time to finish the job. Homeowners should be aware that extensions of time are usually pre-approved or automatic when the contract is entered into, so long as they are expressly provided under the contract. However, if a homeowner has good cause, they have the right to contest a builder’s notice of a deadline extension.
It is crucial to understand that a builder exceeding the allotted time for construction does not automatically constitute a breach of the contract that entitles the owner to end the agreement. However, the owner may have the right to end the contract if the delay was brought on through the builder’s fault, such as failure to fulfill their duties under the contract, such as using subpar workmanship or unspecified materials.
Homeowners must therefore carefully study the contract and comprehend all of its terms and conditions, including those relating to time extensions and the builder’s responsibilities. By doing so, homeowners can avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes with the builder.
Myth #2: Overrunning the Building Period is a Automatically a Breach of Contract
Another common misconception among homeowners is that the builder overrunning the construction period is a substantial breach of contract that gives them the right to terminate it. This is not always accurate, though. Most contracts will have a provision allowing the contractor to request for an extension of time if certain circumstances arise, such as changes requested by the owner, delays in receiving necessary materials, severe weather conditions, etc. The builder will usually need to provide evidence to show that external factors, and not their own underperformance, caused the delay.
It’s critical for homeowners to comprehend that the construction time is only an estimate and not a promise of when the project will actually be finished. The progress of the building works may be affected by a number of variables, including unforeseen site conditions, weather conditions, and changes to the scope of work. Although homeowners should anticipate the builder finishing the job in a reasonable amount of time, it’s also crucial to be adaptable and understanding when unforeseen circumstances arise. Homeowners should work with the builder to determine the cause of the delay and find a solution that benefits both parties, rather than assuming that the builder is in breach of contract for exceeding the building period.
Myth #3: Homeowners Have to Approve Extensions of Time
Another common misconception among homeowners is that they have the power to approve or deny an extension of time request made by the contractor. But this isn’t always the case.
Some contracts expressly provide that the builder is entitled to extensions, especially when they are caused by events outside the control of the contractor, such as adverse weather conditions, variations requested by the owner, or a delay in the supply of materials selected by the owner. These events are usually specified in the contract as permissible grounds for granting an extension of time.
To understand their rights and responsibilities regarding time extensions, homeowners should carefully examine the contract they have signed with the contractor. The majority of contracts will have a provision allowing the contractor to ask for a time extension for specific reasons for delay, with restrictions on when extensions of time may be given. These clauses frequently demand that the contractor offer the other party a certain amount of notice.
However, homeowners may dispute a notification of an extension of time by a builder if they have valid reasons to do so. Common reasons for disputing an extension of time include the period of extension not being reasonable, the delay not being caused by an event covered by the contract, or the cause of the delay being within the builder’s control. If the homeowner chooses to refuse the request for a deadline extension, the builder may be held accountable for liquidated damages outlined in the contract.
Myth #4: Homeowners Cannot Dispute Extensions of Time
Another common misconception among homeowners is that they cannot dispute an extension of time granted to the contractor. However, homeowners do have the right to dispute an extension of time notification by a builder if they have valid reasons to do so.
One reason why homeowners may want to dispute an extension of time is if the period of extension is not reasonable. The homeowner may object to the contractor’s proposal for an extension of time if the reason for the delay does not support. If the contractor’s poor performance or lack of planning caused the delay, the homeowner may claim that the extension should be shortened or denied.
Another reason why homeowners may want to dispute an extension of time is if the delay was not caused by an event covered by the contract. Some contracts may specify the types of events that can lead to an extension of time, such as inclement weather or delays caused by the homeowner.
Finally, if the cause of the delay was within the contractor’s control, the homeowner may dispute the extension of time. The homeowner might contend that the contractor shouldn’t be given an extension of time if, for instance, the contractor delayed the project by failing to purchase important materials in a timely manner.
In summation, homeowners have the right to contest a contractor’s request for an extension of time if they have good cause to. To understand the conditions under which a time extension can be granted and the steps to challenge a request for time extension, homeowners should carefully examine the terms of their building contract.
In conclusion, it is important for homeowners to understand the common misconceptions about building works overrunning the building period. Despite the fact that it seems like a breach of contract, this is frequently not the case. If a homeowner disagrees with a request for time extension, they are not obligated to take it, and they are free to challenge it if they think the request is unreasonable. As a solicitor and construction lawyer with over 10 years of experience, I have advised many homeowners and builders regarding their legal and contractual rights in matters involving extension of time. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you need assistance with a time extension or any other building law matter, and you are a homeowner or builder in NSW, VIC, or QLD, Australia.