Time at Large – Issues and Implications

In almost all construction projects, the common project objectives are to complete on time, within budget, meet quality and standard/statutory requirements. In addressing
time to complete the construction works, most employers would require the contractor of their project to complete on time or within the extended time under the construction contract. Likewise, under subcontracts, subcontractors are faced similar demands by the contractor for the subcontract works.

Unlike costs, which can be objectively determined and valued, construction completion period or duration and any time extension/s are often subjective usually subject to application and assessment under certain contractual procedures which are often not complied with, unfortunately. These circumstances usually lead to difficulties in determining the extent of extension of time entitlement under the contract.

It is therefore not surprising that contractors and subcontractors when faced with such extension of time difficulties, often resort to adopting the ‘time at large’ argument, particularly when they have been prevented and delayed by event/s for which they are not culpable for. If successful, time at large releases them from being obliged to complete the construction works within the contractual completion period. Instead, they are then entitled to complete within a reasonable time, thereby rendering liquidated
damages unenforceable.
What constitutes a ‘reasonable time’ to complete the works, is another subjective matter as it is usually dependent on the factual matrix and circumstances of the events causing the delay and/or prevention. Consequently, both time at large and reasonable time in the context of time extension for construction works are often issues of contention, which need to be understood and appreciated by the contracting parties and players in the Malaysian construction industry.

In this article, BK Entrusty aims to provide readers with a better understanding of the issues and implications of ‘time at large’ and ‘reasonable time’ for completing construction works, supported with related case law, by the following article contents: –
• Time of Essence
• Extension of Time
• Relevant Extension of Time Provisions
• Time at Large Issues
• Time at Large Implications
• Summary/Conclusion

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