Submittal, review and approval of shop drawings, descriptive literature, samples and other information is an inherent part of construction. For contractors, the process poses the risk of delay. Sometimes the contractor cannot proceed with the work without a response from the project owner or its representative. How much time should be allowed before it becomes a compensable delay?
Construction contracts seldom stipulate the amount of time allowed for turn-around of submittals. This is understandable because submittals vary greatly in their complexity. Most contracts simply state a standard of reasonableness. The AIA documents refer to “such reasonable promptness as to cause no delay to the Work.” Other contract forms use similar language.
Faced with this vague standard, courts and administrative boards have come down all over the place. In one case, ten to 12 weeks was deemed reasonable. In another, anything more than 14 days was considered unreasonable. Obviously there is no clear standard and no predictability in this matter.
I invite your comments. Should construction contracts specify a number of days for submittal turn-around or is that not feasible given the wide variety of submittals which must be reviewed? If the standard is simply reasonableness, what is the range of time to be allowed? Twelve weeks seems absurd, but 14 days could be very tight for review of many types of submittals.
Featured in next week's Construction Claims Advisor . . .
- Contractor Denied Home Office Overhead But Recovers for Idled Equipment
- Signature Not Required But No Assent to Arbitration
- Default of Subcontractor Upheld – Surety Liable for Delay Damages