Most people involved in a construction project expect work to be completed within a specific time frame. When that doesn’t happen, people tend to look to the terms of the contract for recourse. If they find specific language making it clear that time does indeed matter—that “time is of the essence”—then delayed performance of the particular or general contract terms will likely constitute a material breach of the contract. This essentially allows the non-breaching party to terminate the contract.
This is also true of subcontracts, in which the general contractor will often specify not only a completion date but will also include the “time is of the essence” provision. If the subcontractor does not complete its work on or before the completion date, the general contractor may choose to terminate the subcontract, hire another subcontractor to complete the job, and sue the original subcontractor for breach of contract.
Interestingly, if a contract does not include a “time is of the essence” provision, a delay will not be considered a material breach so long as performance is effectuated within a reasonable time. A “time is of the essence” provision can also be waived, but only if the parties continue their dealings regardless of late performance. In that case, courts will tend to not enforce termination of a contract.
But be aware that the simple granting of time extensions will not necessarily constitute a waiver. To extend a completion deadline but also preserve your “time is of the essence” provision, grant extensions in writing expressly noting that the defaulting party is still in breach of the contract. In that way, when you’ve had enough of the delays, you can still choose to terminate the contract.
THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. CONSULT WITH YOUR OWN LAWYER ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC SITUATION.
Add new comment
Putting on the Right Hat
Are you a manager, a leader or a boss? The answer may not be as obvious as you think.
Software Company to Award $150,000 to Home Service Company Owners
The grant program is intended to help strengthen small businesses
What Kind of Business Are You In? (Is it Really Remodeling?)
The answer to that question is not as obvious as you might think
An Open Book Culture
After transitioning into ownership, this remodeler found success in transparency
A Look at Quiet Quitting
“Quiet quitting” is affecting many industries, including remodeling. Here’s what we can do to combat it.
5 Things To Do About "It"
Although the changing economy and resulting consumer behaviors may feel out of your control, there are still a few impactful things you can do
Does Encouragement Really Matter?
Home improvement industry leader Brian Gottlieb shares the importance of encouragement for any business
Tips to Get Started on Your Exit Strategy
It’s never too early to begin planning the next stage of your life. Industry advisor Mark Richardson offers some tips to get started
Are You a Farmer or a Hunter?
Industry advisor Mark Richardson says that over the last year, there’s been a major shift in the remodeling business from a farming mentality to a hunting skill set
The Argument for a Four Day Remodeling Work Week
The four-day work week has a global spotlight—could it work in remodeling?