Cedar Rapids Attorneys for Construction Delays

When you can have your home built or remodeled to your own specifications, you expect the architect to create a design that will result in a building that is safe to live in. A commercial design needs to be safe, built to code, and finished on time and on budget, as well as aesthetically pleasing to your tenants and customers.

If this fails to happen because of a poorly designed building, due to errors by the architect in planning or drafting the blueprints, the results can be expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating at best. At worst, it can mean injury or worse to the people inside the building when a roof or wall comes crashing down.

If your building has been compromised because of an architect’s negligence, and someone has been seriously injured or killed, or you believe your property has been devalued because of the careless design, you can do something about it. Call the Cedar Rapids Architect and Design attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC right away, or reach out to us online. Our team is waiting at (319) 363-8199 to review your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

How Poor Design Causes Delays

At first, it may seem like a negligent design is unrelated to construction delays. At a time when supply-chain disruptions are nightly news, construction delays are to be expected. Surprisingly, supply-chain issues may not be the cause of the delays. It is true that unavailable materials or equipment will delay construction. Design flaws will cause them as well.

According to guidance from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a contractor is expected to review the architect’s drawings and blueprints in a “workmanlike manner” and to read all the contract notes and documents before commencing a project. The contractor should report any “errors, omissions or inconsistencies in the contract documents” to the architect before starting work on that part of the project.

Depending on the size and type of project, a “change order” will be sent to the architect, requesting permission to make any necessary changes. For instance, the architect may have specified three doors facing west in the original plans, but the contractor discovers a sewer line under the foundation that was not shown on the plans that will allow only two doors to be cut.

The contractor must send a request to the architect and the owner or project manager, requesting more time to complete the project and more money for materials and labor, or else alternatives to the problem that will permit the project to go forward. If the contractor decides to fix the problem without a change order, the contractor becomes fully liable for any damages that result from the repair. Most contractors won’t make this decision, especially on big projects. If you have pressing questions about your construction delay, contact us immediately.

Excusable and Inexcusable, Compensable and Non-Compensable

The architect must decide whether the change order request can be granted, and the contractor can get more time for the changes and more money for the new completion. According to AIA rules, there are two kinds of delays:

  • Inexcusable delays are those caused by the contractor’s own team. The contractor gets neither more time nor more money for an inexcusable delay.
  • Excusable delays are caused by forces outside the contractor’s reasonable control. There are two sub-categories.
    • Non-compensable delays are those outside the control of anyone on the project: bad weather, unforeseeable site conditions, acts of war. The contractor can get a time extension but no additional money.
    • Compensable delays are those caused by the owner’s team or project management, including the architect. The contractor can receive both additional money and time for an excusable, compensable delay.

Since the architect failed to do a proper survey of the property or ensure they had the most accurate sewer maps before completing their design, the door issue in the example would be an excusable, compensable delay. In some cases, the architect disagrees with the contractor, and the case must be referred to mediation or arbitration.

What This Means for You

When the contractor discovers that the three doors will have to be reduced to two, this will change the interior character of your building. It also means a delay in completing your building and additional costs since the mistake made by the architect will add hours and dollars to the completion of the building.

Any physical or economic harm that reasonably flows from this delay can be attributed to the architect’s initial design flaw. Proving negligence in a design flaw/construction delay case can be tricky since the chain of causation and foreseeability can be difficult to prove.

The issue will hinge on the amount of injury suffered and what roles the contractor and architect played in causing or preventing injury. For instance, suppose that in the case of the door, the architect told the contractor to find a way to put three doors in despite the sewer line. The contractor broke up the foundation and installed the door over the sewer line. Later it collapsed, and a worker was injured, and the project was delayed another six months to repair the damage. This would be more clearly the fault of the architect and the poor design than the earlier example where the project was delayed for the change order.

How We Can Help

At Arenson Law Group, PC, we have attorneys with an in-depth knowledge of architecture and construction law. They know what to look for in construction contracts and how the contract can affect the outcome of a dispute between you, the contractor, and the architect if something goes wrong on site. If you think you have damage or suffered an injury at a building that was caused by a poor design, let our attorneys take a look and give you their opinion.

Contact Us

The legal professionals at Arenson Law Group, PC can help you anywhere in the tri-state area. If you have a home or commercial construction in Iowa, Wisconsin, or Minnesota, our team can review your case and help you out. Don’t suffer because of a flawed building or injuries that need medical care. Give Arenson Law Group, PC a call at (319) 363-8199, or reach out to us online. Let’s discuss your project and see how we can help. The consultation is confidential. Don’t hesitate to contact us immediately when your building project is delayed.

Written by James H. Arenson

Last Updated : January 20, 2023
(319) 363-8199