- 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
Civil engineers can lead the way.
Cutting-edge tech pairs with building management systems.
BSRIA updates its assessment of the industry.
What happens when it all goes wrong?
Input being gathered by CIOB.
Changes proposed for MHCLG consultation on house building statistics.
Full of passion and acerbic wit. 1 min book review.
Reminding us what is possible.
Five signs you are at risk.
Biotechnology as it applies to the built environment.
Stopping sound coming through windows.
Government response to the Building a Safer Future consultation.
Energy savings quickly payback any small additional capital investment.