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How does construction law address delayed government projects?

Delayed projects and cancelled contracts are one of the biggest challenges construction companies face. When a major project in Alberta gets pushed or cancelled due to budget restrictions or timeline issues, many wonder how this effects the companies involved under construction law. This is certainly a conversation worth having right now as 42 school projects promised by the government years ago remain unfinished.

While the province was under Progressive Conservative leadership, 195 projects were planned as part of a large new school and modernization blitz. Two years ago, the provincial auditor noted that the schools would likely not be built on time. As at least 42 remain unfinished, it appears the auditor was correct. According to reporters, at least six projects have not started, one has been cancelled, and the remaining 34 are behind schedule.

Budgets are also an issue with these projects. Currently, two of the project are over 20 percent more than their original price, and the majority have cost-overruns of some kind. Cost-overruns on projects are reportedly due to unforeseen structural problems or changes to the project rather than delays. In some jurisdictions, school boards are overseeing the construction projects.

Government-run development projects often follow different processes than personal or for-profit projects. From the process of bidding on the project through to the budgetary considerations that need to be made, there are many construction law issues that may arise. This can particularly be true when the government changes hands and policies or mandates change, as has been the case in Alberta. Those with construction law questions should contact an Alberta lawyer for counsel and clarification.

Source: Edmonton Journal, "Dozens of school projects announced by former PC government hit delays", Alicia Bridges, April 16, 2018

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