Examples of terms commonly found on construction contracts include substantial completion, excused delays, delay damages and change orders. Many of these terms are not unique to construction contracts, but have unique meanings when applied within the construction industry.
Substantial completion is an important term for any construction contract, as it specifies the point at which the proposed construction has reached the principal level of completeness necessary for the owner to sell it, rent it, live in it or otherwise use the structure. In construction contracts, substantial completion is identified according to a tight schedule that allows for specific delays while assessing fees and charges for others.
Excused delays refer to unforeseen events or circumstances that both parties agree represent an interruption of the construction process that forces deadlines to change. In some contracts, prices change as a result of excused delays.
Delay damages refer to the damages incurred by either the owner or contractor as a result of not reaching the date of substantial completion on time. Examples include lost rent and financing opportunities for owners and additional overhead and opportunity costs for contractors.
Change orders are bilateral amendments to existing construction projects. While either contractors or owners may propose a change order, neither can unilaterally issue a change order without the consent of the other party.