It is a lovely Friday afternoon, your architect has just told you that your engineer has approved the reinforcing lying in your foundation. Your contractor books the ready mix truck for Monday. Sunday afternoon arrives together with the eagerly awaited rain. Your site is a mud bath. This wasn’t your typical afternoon shower, it is a 2 week monsoon! Who pays for the delay? An ‘’Act of God’’ or ‘’Force Majeure’’ is an event no one could have avoided. Road closures, national strikes etc. are also out of the parties control. In this case, your contractor is entitled to a revision of the date for completion, and with it, the costs to fix any damages to site and other losses incurred that the client, as opposed to the contractor, should reasonably pay for. Now what about the delay when the foreman was off sick and the other when the steel subcontractor didn’t pitch to lay the reinforcing for engineer to check Tuesday. These are delays the contractor could have reasonably avoided by having a back-up. The contractor’s subcontractors are the contractor’s responsibility. Should there be penalties provided in your agreement, you may claim these on late handover due to such delays. Give notice of these early on to avoid later disagreements when claims are due. Should the delay persist, notice must be given to the contractor to continue works as per time frame provided in agreement - hopefully you have a good agreement in place. Once time lapses you may appoint someone else to complete that part of the job at the contractors cost. I will deal with unlawful suspension of works and termination at a later stage. When I say you may give notice or claim etc. I refer to your principle agent, usually your architect, whom you have appointed to administer the contract. The rain has stopped, the builders return to site and finish the brickwork. Standing in your dressing room you decide your shoe collection needs its own space. You instruct your architect to amend the drawings. Your contractor is immediately instructed not to order roof yet. Any building changes, late issue of instruction, delayed payment or other delays caused by client or their agent is to the client’s full cost. While you wait for that revised drawing, take another look at all areas that may need changing right away. You will find the contractors claim for additional costs, management fees and profit on top of all that carries a high daily price.