Last edited 26 Jan 2021

Relevant event

Delays on a project will have different contractual consequences depending on the cause of the delay:

A relevant event may be caused by the client, or may be a neutral event such as exceptionally adverse weather. The contract should set out what constitutes a relevant event.

Relevant events may include:

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.

Claims for extension of time can run alongside claims for loss and expense however, one need not necessarily lead to the other. The contractor is required to prevent or mitigate the delay and any resulting loss, even where the fault is not their own.

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. The client would lose any right to liquidated damages.

NB: On NEC contracts, delays are dealt with slightly differently and are referred to as 'compensation events'.

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