Force Majeure in Construction Contracts

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Force majeure is a legal term that refers to an event or circumstances that are beyond the control of the parties involved in a contract and that make it impossible to perform the contractual obligations. In construction contracts, force majeure clauses are used to protect the parties from liability in case unforeseeable events occur during the construction process.

What are force majeure events?

Force majeure events are events that are beyond the control of the parties involved in the construction contract. These events can include natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods, as well as events caused by humans, such as wars, riots, and strikes. It can also include events such as pandemics, which have become more relevant in recent times.

How do force majeure clauses work in construction contracts?

In construction contracts, force majeure clauses typically excuse performance of the contract for the duration of the force majeure event. The clause will typically state the specific events that qualify as force majeure and what the parties should do in case such events occur. For example, the clause may state that the parties should notify each other as soon as possible about the occurrence of a force majeure event and that they should work together to mitigate the impact of the event.

What are the consequences of a force majeure event?

The consequences of a force majeure event depend on the specific terms of the construction contract. Typically, the parties involved in the contract are excused from performance for the duration of the force majeure event. This means that the deadlines for completion of the construction project may be extended, and the parties may not be liable for damages resulting from delays caused by a force majeure event.

However, if the force majeure event lasts for an extended period, the parties may be entitled to terminate the contract. This means that the contract will be deemed null and void, and the parties will not be liable for damages resulting from the termination of the contract.

Conclusion

Force majeure events are unpredictable events that can occur during the construction process. These events can have a significant impact on the construction project, resulting in delays and other issues. Force majeure clauses in construction contracts provide a way for the parties involved in the contract to protect themselves from liability in case of such events. If you are involved in a construction project, it is essential to ensure that your contract includes a force majeure clause that adequately protects your interests.