An ongoing strike by various union crafts undoubtedly creates a number of legal problems for contractors and subcontractors affected.
The most obvious problem is delay in construction completion. While most contracts allow time extension for delays resulting from strikes, many contract forms require written notice of a strike delay and timely written requests for appropriate extensions
While many courts do not require strict adherence to contract notice and extension request requirements, idled contractors and subcontractors should have sufficient time to give required notices and establish procedures for determining and documenting the length of time extensions to be requested when the strike ends.
Few contractors or subcontractors whose jobs are affected by the strike will be delayed only for the number of days their work was shut down. Additional time will probably be lost in remobilization, scheduling of other trade work, stocking of materials and equipment and other delay-caused activities.
Depending upon the nature of the work involved, the strike shutdown may delay progress far beyond the number of days of the actual shutdown itself. For instance, weather impacted work might be delayed until the following spring or summer seasons.
The strike may also exaggerate earlier delays experienced on particular jobs. Contractors and subcontractors should carefully study their jobs and progress to determine the real time loss resulting from the strike in order to calculate the amount of time extension they require.
The practice of many contractors to neglect giving written notice of strike delays and to ask for time extensions for only for the number of days during which the job was shut down because of the strike may cause serious problems.
Prompt written notice of any delay should be given and the full impact of any strike on progress must be carefully studied so that appropriate time extensions may be obtained.