- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 24 Apr 2019
If the parties to a contract or agreement have not established a specific timescale within which things must happen, the law may apply the concept of ‘reasonable time’. In that case, any time that is not manifestly unreasonable in those circumstances may be termed ‘reasonable time’. It is the time that the law considers reasonable under the specific contract for undertaking whatever is required and which is deemed necessary – and can be undertaken conveniently – as soon as circumstances permit.
English law frequently requires things to be done in reasonable time but ‘reasonable time’ is never defined. The acceptable period for any particular case brought before the law may be established by referring to trade practice, custom or where there are similar precedents.
Due to its subjective and vague nature, the term causes controversy and problems in many court cases. People may argue for a variety of time frames which, while not unreasonable, are nevertheless not in alignment with a court’s decision.
Reasonable time may also be applied in a ‘time at large’ situation which may occur when a client is responsible for delaying construction works but the contract does not allow for an extension of time to be granted. In that case, time would be ‘at large’, the client would not be able to claim liquidated damages from the contractor who would then only have to complete the works in a ‘reasonable time’. See ‘time at large’ for further information.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Love them or hate them, they are popping up everywhere.
The initiative to enhance the environment continues.
Could underused community spaces offer an alternative to working from home?
Keeping workers and workplaces safe in the United States.
A history lesson in geographic information systems.
A low tech, easy to use method of extinguishing small fires.
How can these valued spaces be reused?
Partnership avoids the need for listed building consent.
Connecting building design from inception to completion to operations.
Gregor Harvie predicts interoperability will be construction’s Uber moment.
Expert commentary and insight.
Guidance offered for stained glass window maintenance.
Define need before determining viability.