Legal Question in Construction Law in California

If our contract says contractor "agrees to start and diligently pursue work to completion...", how is that defined under the law? Put another way, how few man hours per week can he put in at the job site before it is considered a breach of contract under this provision? We are months and months beyond the contract and subsequent change order deadlines.

Also, if contractor increasingly cancels work due to illness etc, could I legally demand that he either make those days up or schedule a worker to come in when he is unabke to work? I dont think contract addresses this.

Finally, if my contractor tells me in writing that the entire project will be done by certain date, is it considered a clear breach of contract if he goes beyond the date?


Asked on 3/23/16, 11:54 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

That term is not defined under the law. It is a matter to be decided by a judge or jury if it comes down to it whether a contractor was diligent. Far more relevant is the agreed deadlines. It is irrelevant whether the contractor proceeded diligently if he missed the latest agreed deadline in the last change order. THAT by itself, alone is a breach of the contract.

You do not, however, have any right to order the contractor to accelerate the work. The contractor controls his own schedule to meet the contract deadlines, or not. And if not, he is in breach of contract.

So your last question should be answered by now. Yes, it most definitely is a breach of the contract if the contract contains an agreed final completion date and the project is not done by then, or such other date as is agreed by an extension change order.

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Answered on 3/23/16, 11:08 pm


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