What You Should Know About Construction Deadlines


Construction deadlines and delays are two controversial topics for many involved in a construction project. For a commercial client, not meeting deadlines can add up in additional costs. Storage costs, temporary office space rental, or just the time that they are not operating at full capacity can significantly impact their bottom line. Nobody wants that – not even your contractor.

To help everyone involved in the project align regarding deadlines, and to do our best to avoid potential delays, let’s discuss important terms you should know if you’re involved in a commercial construction project. In this blog post, I’ll go into details about the most important deadline and how to set – and meet – deadlines. Next week, I’ll write about different types of delays and how to manage them.

Substantial Completion – The Most Important Construction Deadline

There are many deadlines when it comes to commercial construction projects, but one you should fully understand is substantial completion. Substantial completion refers the point in which an owner can rent, sell, or work or live in the space. This deadline is also critical to satisfying third-party obligations such as local government requirements, availability of public incentives (e.g., tax credits or subsidies for a “green” building), or refinancing a construction loan before a permanent loan commitment expires.

How To Set A Deadline For A Construction Project

Sometimes confusion arises regarding the deadline for the project. This can happen because the deadline might have been left up to interpretation. For example, 20 days since the beginning of the project might mean 20 days since the contract was signed for the owner. But for the contractor, the clock might not have started ticking until all the materials were delivered to the site. Also, are those 20 business days or calendar days? You see my point…
To avoid any confusion and possible setbacks, you must identify the deadline. In detail. You can set a specific time and date (September 4, 2018, at 5 pm local time at the construction site). Or you can set a length of time that runs after a specified date or event. Be very specific about the event that starts the clock to avoid confusion. For either method of setting deadlines, make sure to check the day so that it doesn’t expire on weekends or holidays.

The Key To Meeting Construction Deadlines

Let’s be real. Sometimes delays cannot be avoided. Circumstances that are out of our reach, unforeseen projects, and changing requirements can all impact construction deadlines. But there are three things that help meeting construction deadlines.  

  • Planning – The more you take into account every single variable involved in the project, the more realistically you can forecast your deadline. Many times, poor planning or not leaving any wiggle room for unforeseen issues are the culprits to not meeting deadlines.
  • Communication – I cannot stress this enough. Construction projects are collaborative. There are many players and moving parts at all times. The more everyone knows about how the project is moving along, the better they can align to meet expectations.
  • Just do things right – Attention to detail and quality craftsmanship don’t only add to your project’s value, but also save you time and money. Make sure to hire a contractor with attention to detail to avoid having to go back to fix mediocre work.

When establishing construction deadlines, hiring a qualified and experienced team is crucial. A qualified contractor will not only support you in setting realistic expectations but will also deliver ‘first time right’ quality. Contact us today to discuss your next project.