Understanding Delay Claims

Bad weather, unforeseen events, and scope changes can delay construction jobs. As a builder, you might experience unforeseen delays that could hinder your ability to complete the job on schedule. This is where delay claims come in.

EOT requests are requests made by contractors to extend the project timeline due to delays caused by external factors. The Builder must have proof that the delay was brought on by events beyond the builder’s sole control in order to effectively request for an EOT.

It is important to note that delay claims are not always straightforward and can sometimes result in disputes between builders and homeowners. However, with proper documentation and communication, these disputes can be avoided.

In the following sections, we will discuss how to properly document and present delay claims to ensure that your project remains on track and your reputation as a builder remains intact.

Types of Delay Claims

There are various types of delay claims that a contractor may encounter during a construction project. The following are some of the most typical delay claims:

Delays that are not the builder’s fault alone: These are holdups that happen as a result of outside influences like bad weather, labor disputes, or unforeseen site circumstances. Excusable delays may entitle the contractor to an extension of time to complete the project.

Delays caused by an act, default or omission of the owner: These are delays that occur due to factors within the owner’s control, such as late payment or changes to the project scope. These delays may entitle the contractor to compensation for the costs incurred due to the delay.

Delays caused by both parties: These are delays that happen for a variety of reasons, including the activities of both the contractor and the owner. These delays might be harder to demonstrate and lead to a joint liability for the delay. Understanding the different types of delay claims can help contractors to better assess their rights and obligations during a construction project, and to properly document any delays and associated costs.

Documenting Delay Claims

Documenting delay claims is an essential part of proving that external factors have caused a delay in the construction project. Proper documentation helps builders provide evidence of delays and can prevent disputes with the owner.

Document every step of the building process, including job start and end dates, scope changes, and delays. It’s also important to document any communication with the owner, such as notices and requests for extensions of time.

To document delays, builders should keep a daily log of site work, including workers, material, and equipment. This log can serve as a record of the progress of the job and assist in determining the reason for any delays.

Builders should also keep copies of all relevant documents, such as contracts, specifications, change orders, and correspondence with the owner. These documents can help prove that external factors caused the delay and support the builder’s claim for an extension of time.

Finally, it’s important to document any steps taken to mitigate the delay, such as scheduling additional workers or working longer hours. These details can demonstrate the builder’s good faith actions and efforts to lessen the project’s delay.

Overall, documenting delay claims is critical for builders to protect their rights and prevent disputes with the owner. By keeping accurate and complete records, builders can demonstrate that external factors caused the delay and support their claim for an extension of time.

Documenting Delay Events

Documenting delay events is an essential part of proving that external factors caused the delay in the project. All delays, regardless of whether they were the result of the contractor or outside variables, should be noted in writing along with the dates and causes. To ensure accuracy and completeness, this documentation should be constantly updated. The documentation should include any relevant emails, correspondence, meeting minutes, and other forms of communication related to the delay event. By maintaining detailed records of all delay events, builders can provide compelling evidence to support their claim that external factors caused the delay in the project.

Proving Delay Events

Proving delay events is a critical part of making a successful delay claim. The delays must have been brought on by outside forces beyond the sole control of the builders, who must be able to prove this. To prove this, builders need to collect and document all relevant information related to the delay event.

This can include documentation of the work completed prior to the delay, in-depth documentation of the delay itself, and documentation of any steps taken to reduce or end the delay. Builders should also collect emails, letters, and other project-related communications.

To help them establish that the delay was brought on by outside factors, builders may occasionally need to retain the services of specialists like building consultants These experts can provide technical reports and analysis that can be used to support the delay claim.

The builder must prove that the delays were caused by factors beyond their sole control outside. Builders must be able to provide compelling and clear proof to back up their claim for a delay; otherwise, their claim may be rejected.

Maintaining a Daily Log

Maintaining a daily log is a crucial part of documenting delays in a construction project. The progress of the project, any delays, and the causes of those delays should all be recorded in detail This log will serve as an essential tool in proving that the delay was caused by external factors and not the contractor’s underperformance. It is also crucial to have the log signed and dated by all parties involved to ensure its validity. Maintaining a daily log ensures that the builder has a reliable and accurate record of the project’s progress, which can help in proving their claim for an extension of time if necessary.

Collecting Evidence

Collecting evidence is an essential step in proving that external factors caused the delay in a construction project. Evidence can be presented in a variety of ways, including through emails, letters, pictures, and videos. It is important to keep records of all correspondence and any conversations or meetings that relate to the delay. If possible, collect evidence of the external factor that caused the delay, such as photographs of extreme weather conditions or proof of delivery delays from suppliers. Documenting any efforts made to lessen the effects of the delay, is also essential. Builders can support their request for a deadline extension and give the other parties convincing reasons for the delay by gathering and keeping evidence.


In conclusion, it is important for builders to document and prove any delay events caused by external factors to ensure they can successfully claim an Extension of Time. By maintaining a daily log and collecting evidence, builders can provide a strong case for their claims. To protect your rights, risks, and obligations, it is best to talk to a lawyer who specialises in construction law. As a solicitor and construction lawyer with over 10 years of experience, I have advised many homeowners and builders on Extension of Time issues in NSW, VIC, and QLD, and have represented them in all courts of competent jurisdiction. If you require legal advice regarding Extension of Time or any other construction law issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.