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Last edited 12 Jan 2023
Extension of time EOT in construction contracts
 What is an extension of time?
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 contractor’s 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, and the client would lose any right to liquidated damages.
 How is an extension of time granted?
When it becomes reasonably apparent that there is, 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.
 What types of delays might allow an extension of time?
- Variations instructed by the contract administrator on behalf of the client.
- Exceptionally adverse weather.
- Civil commotion or terrorism.
- Failure of the client or their consultants to provide information.
- Delay on the part of a nominated sub-contractor.
- Statutory undertaker’s work.
- A delay in giving the contractor possession of the site.
- Force majeure (such as an epidemic or an 'act of God').
- Loss from a specified peril such as flood.
- Delays in the supply of materials or goods by the client.
- Changes in statutory requirements.
- Delays in receiving permissions that the contractor has taken reasonable steps to avoid.
 How are claims for extension of time assessed?
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 interfacing with sub-contractors.
It is very important when deducting liquidated damages to ensure that the correct contractual procedures are adhered to. In the case of Octoesse LLP v Trak Special Projects Ltd , Justice Jefford held that Octoesse was not entitled to deduct liquidated damages as they had agreed to an extension of time after a certificate of non completion had been issued. The JCT Intermediate Building Contract is constructed such that:
'If the Contractor fails to complete the Works or a Section by the relevant Completion Date, the Architect/Contract administrator shall issue a certificate to that effect. If an extension of time is made after the issue of such certificate, the extension shall cancel that certificate and the Architect/Contract Administrator shall where necessary issue a further certificate.'
To find out more, see Octoesse LLP v Trak Special Projects Ltd.
- Adverse weather during construction.
- Certificate of non completion.
- Common refusals of extensions of time.
- Completion date in construction contracts.
- Concurrent delay.
- Contract administrator for construction contracts.
- Contract claims in construction.
- Contractor delay.
- Delays on construction projects.
- Extension of time - approval letter example.
- Force majeure in construction.
- How to prepare a claim for an extension of time.
- Liquidated damages in construction contracts.
- Loss and expense.
- Octoesse LLP v Trak Special Projects Ltd.
- Practical completion.
- Reasonable objection.
- Reasonable time.
- Relevant event.
- Relevant events v relevant matters.
- Relevant matters in construction contracts.
- Time at large.
- Variations in construction contracts.
 External references
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