Last edited 26 Oct 2016

Extension of time EOT in construction contracts

Many construction contracts allow the construction period to be extended where there are delays that are not the contractor's fault. This is described as an extension of time (EOT).

When it becomes reasonably apparent that there is a delay, or that there is likely to be a delay that could merit an extension of time, the contractor gives written notice to the contract administrator identifying the relevant event that has caused the delay. If the contract administrator accepts that the delay was caused by a relevant event, then they may grant an extension of time and the completion date is adjusted.

Relevant events may include:

The contractor is required to prevent or mitigate the delay and any resulting loss, even where the fault is not their own.

Assessing claims for an extension of time can be complicated and controversial. There may be multiple or concurrent delays, some of which are the contractor's fault and some not. There are many occasions where contractors contribute to delay themselves by their performance during design periods, when producing drawings, mock ups and samples or in inter-facing with sub-contractors. Crucial in assessing applications for extension of time is the quality of the information provided and records available.

All claims should be judged against the progress of the works and not the programme and must demonstrate the link between the breach (cause) and the delay. Supplemental and wrap-up agreements previously agreed by both parties can weaken the contractors final entitlement.

The contract administrator may review extensions of time after practical completion and further adjust the completion date.

Mechanisms allowing extensions of time are not simply for the contractor's benefit. If there was no such mechanism and a delay occurred which was not the contractors fault, then the contractor would no longer be required to complete the works by the completion date and would only then have to complete the works in a 'reasonable' time. The client would lose any right to liquidated damages.

Claims for extension of time can run alongside claims for loss and expense (relevant matters) however, one need not necessarily lead to the other.

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[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references

  • Construct Support, extensions of time.
  • Herbert Smith, Extensions of Time: What Happens If the Contractual Machinery Breaks Down?
  • Atkinson Law, Delay and Disruption - The Contractor's Obligations as to Time.