Construction disruption claims: 10 essential considerations

Disruption claims in construction arise when unforeseen events or circumstances disrupt the normal progress of construction work, leading to increased costs and delays.

The disruptions can result in reduced productivity, increased expenses, and potential contractual disputes. Successfully navigating construction disruption claims requires careful documentation, analysis, and adherence to contractual procedures. Here are key aspects to consider:

  1. Baseline Documentation:

    Maintain comprehensive baseline documentation that includes the planned productivity rates, work sequences, and durations. This baseline serves as a reference point for assessing any deviations caused by disruptions.

  2. Periodic Record Keeping:

    Regularly update and maintain detailed project records. These records should provide a snapshot of the project’s status at different stages, including the productivity achieved. Photographs, daily reports, and other contemporaneous records can be valuable evidence.

  3. Productivity Tracking:

    Implement a robust system for tracking productivity throughout the project. This can involve recording quantities of work completed, hours worked, and any other relevant metrics. Having a well-documented history of productivity can help demonstrate the impact of disruptions.

  4. Event Analysis:

    Conduct a thorough analysis of the disruptive event to establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the event and the loss of productivity. This may involve engaging experts or specialists who can provide insights into the specific impact of the event on the construction process.

  5. Notice and Communication:

    Adhere to contractual notice requirements by promptly notifying the other party of the disruption. Clearly communicate the impact on productivity and the potential implications for project timelines and costs.

  6. Mitigation Efforts:

    Demonstrate that reasonable efforts were made to mitigate the impact of the disruption. This could involve implementing alternative work methods, reallocating resources, or taking other proactive measures to minimize the effect on productivity

  7. Quantification of Loss:

    Quantify the loss of productivity with precision. This may involve comparing the baseline productivity rates with the actual rates achieved during the disruption period. Utilize industry-accepted methodologies for quantifying productivity loss.

  8. Expert Support:

    If necessary, seek expert opinions or third-party assessments to validate the disruption claims. Experts in construction scheduling, cost estimation, or specific technical areas related to the disruption event can provide independent verification.

  9. Legal and Contractual Compliance:

    Ensure that all steps taken, including notice provisions and documentation, align with the contractual requirements and relevant legal principles.

  10. Negotiation and Dispute Resolution:

    Be prepared for negotiation and, if necessary, dispute resolution processes. Demonstrating a well-documented and reasonable approach can strengthen the contractor’s position during negotiations or in a formal dispute resolution setting.

By focusing on these aspects, a contractor can build a solid foundation for disruption claim management, increasing the likelihood of a favourable outcome in terms of receiving an extension of time and compensation for the loss of productivity.

It’s advisable for the contractor to consult with legal and construction professionals to ensure that their approach aligns with the specific requirements of their contract and applicable laws.

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