Construction Project Delay, Acceleration & Loss of Productivity

By: J. Norman Stark, Attorney, Architect Emeritus, A.I.A., N.C.A.R.B.

Construction project delay and disruption are important elements of damages when they affect the orderly progress of a construction project. Loss of productivity, disturbance, hindrance, or interruption of the contractor’s normal, planned project work schedule may be recognized as an indicia of material disruption, resulting in lower efficiency and related claims.

When disruption may be attributed to any act or requirement of the owner, architect, engineer, or construction manager, the material loss of efficiency and productivity may affirm construction claims that the work that is performed is less efficient than it would have been, had it not been for the disruption. Moreover, if caused by the owner, it may give rise to claims for compensation in the form of monetary damages either under the contract terms or for breach of contract.

On any construction project, there is a strong interrelationship between the factors of delay and acceleration. Changes in the project work, the result of any disruption, directly affects labor productivity and, when it results in increases in the cost of work, may also establish liability,

Labor productivity on a construction project is affected by several major factors, namely:

  •  Delay
  • Acceleration
  • Changes
  • Labor Availability
  • Team Morale
  • Project Management
  • Project Characteristics
  • Availability and Timely Delivery of Critical Materials and Equipment
  • Labor Disputes, Stoppage, Strikes
  • External Conditions

Construction Claims and Cardinal Changes

Ordinarily, change may be any event that results in a deviation from the original Project Schedule. However, any event that results in a major modification of the project schedule, scope, cost, or quality, may also be considered a Cardinal Change, which is a series of changes in the work so extensive and significant as to change the entire character of the work required by the contract, thereby constituting a breach of contract. Claims for changes most frequently litigated, include:

  • Changes in Scope of Work
  • Differing Site Conditions
  • Delays, (4) Acceleration, and
  • Stoppage or Suspension of Work.

Supporting evidence may be required to detail claims for the cost of performing changed work directly related to accomplish and complete the changed work, or comparing costs arising from the original, unchanged work and the work to be performed as a result of the changes.


“Where Experience Counts, Count on my Experience”

J. Norman Stark, Attorney*

Architect Emeritus (Ohio) A.I.A., N.C.A.R.B.

1109 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115

(216) 531-5310 x7100 Cell.:(216) 310-7100

*Author: The Construction Claims Investigation Worklist®