A request for an extension of time is not an uncommon occurrence on a construction project, and in many cases they can be both reasonable, expected and incorporated into a well-managed schedule of works.

However, in recent weeks our esteemed colleague, Dr. Apirath Prateapusanond, Managing Director of Quantum PPP Consulting and Regional Director of Tungsten Capital Thailand, discussed them in the context of extension of time claims and the four main types of construction delay, including circumstances where things can become complex.

With the mindset that prevention is better than cure, and a fully-informed decision making process can help to ensure projects continue to run smoothly even in the face of delays, here are three questions that Apirath and her team recommend you ask yourself before requesting an extension of time.

Question #1: Is the delay excusable?

Is the delay caused by the employer, their representative(s), other direct contractors or external factors? If the delay was caused by the contractor, it’s advisable not to request an extension of time or send any delay notice that could damage a good relationship with the employer.

Question #2: Is the delay critical or impacting the project completion date?

If the delay does not affect the critical path there is no need to request an extension of time. In some cases, a contract document may require the submission of a delay notice within five days. If many instructions or design revisions are given, and you cannot determine the time impact yet, a delay notice should be submitted first.

Question #3: Is the delay notice submitted in according to the contract requirement?

If the delay notice is not submitted as required by the contract, other means of notifications such as email, meeting minutes or monthly reports may be used. However, it is best to follow the contract specification strictly.

If the answer to all three questions is ‘yes’, then an extension of time request is likely to succeed.

The most important thing to remember at all times is the overall outcome that you want to achieve. It’s easy for tensions to run high as projects progress and budgets are absorbed, and while claims are almost inevitable, a negative impact on relationships, the overall project and its outcomes are not.