Construction Law/Finishing late


If a Sub-Contractor finishes late without justification, does this automatically give the Main Contractor an entitlement to claim loss and expense from the defaulting Sub-Contractor, or can the Sub-Contractor somehow get off the hook?

Dear Anthony,

Thank you for this question. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

The short answer to your question is that the position will depend upon the terms of any agreement between the contractor and sub-contractor; however, in the absence of a written agreement the contractor may be able to claim damages, on a common law basis, for the sub-contractors breach - the late completion.

If the agreement, if any, does not detail how the damages are to be assessed it will be for the contractor to prove the cause (the sub-contractor's breach) and that the damages followed that breach.

Should you have a specific example in mind, I will be pleased to consider further information.

I hope that this assists you.

Kind regards,
John Dowse

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John Dowse


Legal; contract interpretation; quantum; delay analysis. Practitioner in arbitration, adjudication and mediation.


Thirty-three (33) years experience in building and construction, at all levels both within contracting and consulting organisations. Practising arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator. Faculty approved trainer for the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Lecturer on construction contract forms and dispute resolution practices.

Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Institute of Directors Society of Construction Arbitrators

Various UK and International construction and legal publications.

LLB (Hons), Pg Dip (Legal Practice), MCInstCES MCIArb MIOD Barrister

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