Excusable and Non-Excusable Delays

Posted on April 22, 2010 by

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Larry has hired a local carpenter named Peter to build a barn for his herd of llamas. Peter told Larry that he’ll have the project completed in three months. However, some delays occurred and it appears that the barn will now take longer than three months. Delays can be either Excusable or Non-Excusable. Non-Excusable may also be referred to as Inexcusable. If general, if the delay is not Peter’s (the contractor) fault, it is Excusable. If the delay is indeed Peter’s fault, it is Non-Excusable. For example, Peter was almost done with the barn—the only remaining task was to paint the exterior—when a tornado came through. The tornado came near the barn and ripped off the roof. Now Peter has to re-do the roof and it will take so much time that he can’t meet his three-month deadline. This is an Excusable delay because Peter was not responsible for the abnormally severe weather. In another scenario, Peter is ready to paint the barn, but he forgot that Larry wanted a specific type of “llama-friendly” paint that is not available locally. It takes a week to ship the paint and since Larry forgot to order it earlier, he is now a week behind schedule. This is a Non-Excusable Delay because it was due to a mistake that Larry made. Which exact situations will be considered Excusable and Non-Excusable may vary somewhat from contract to contract. Larry may be entitled to compensation for damages if the delay is Non-Excusable.