Common Public Contracting Construction Claims

Public Works Resource
July 9, 2012 — 1,344 views  
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Public contracting can be a risky expenditure if investors and builders do not complete a project in a desired manner, and sometimes a customer can sue for a breach of contract or unsatisfactory scope of work. If this occurs, industry professionals should be aware of the most common construction claims and how to deal with a case involving them.

The following is a list of the claims most frequently encountered by those in public contracting.


When suggesting a construction plan and outlining a contract, builders often specify an estimated completion date that must be met. However, outside factors can sometimes cause a contractor to miss this date, and these may be addressed in a delay claim.

The language of a delay claim can sometimes be confusing. Basically, the claim refers to either the length of time by which a construction project has been extended or the work that has not been performed due to unexpected changes (such as the sudden sickness of an essential worker).

Plaintiffs must be able to prove that the original time frame stipulated by a construction contract was surpassed before prosecution can begin. The best defense is to provide dated receipts and images as evidence that a project did indeed meet its time constraints. Contractors should always remember to document their work, as a delay claim is one of the most common citations in construction cases.

Scope of Work

This claim refers explicitly to the cost associated with a construction project. At the beginning, a contractor estimates the cost of supplies, labor and additional work, and establishes a budget that is not to be surpassed. If the scope of work gets out of hand, costs can skyrocket, and a customer might be forced to pay much more than anticipated in order to complete a project.

Contractors in this kind of dispute should be ready to prove that the additional costs were necessary and unavoidable. For example, if the price of lumber shoots up exponentially the week before a supplier purchased it, a contractor cannot be held responsible.

Site Condition

The condition of a build site is of monumental importance. In states like New York, strict environmental laws require a clean and safe site, while private customers might be hurt by carelessly placed tools and items. To avoid this claim, make sure construction tools and garbage are safely stowed and clearly mark potentially hazardous areas.

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