Time At Large within the Common Law Legal System: Application to Standard Forms of Contract


Time is of extreme importance in the construction industry. The contractor has an obligation to complete the works within the time for completion. On the other hand, the employer should not impede the contractor in performing its obligations under the contract. If the contractor is prevented from completing a project by the date for completion for a reason for which the employer is responsible, and there is no right to extend time for completion or it is not properly extended, time becomes at large. Thus, the contractor is not obliged to complete the works within the original time for completion and the employer loses his entitlement to deduct liquidated damages for delay. This paper used a two-step research methodology where the time at large principle is explained within the context of the common law legal system and is consequently applied to various standard forms of contract. The list includes the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) Design and Build Contract of 2011, the World Bank Conditions of Contract (WB Contract) included in the Standard Bidding Documents for Procurement of Works (SBDW), the Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) Conditions of Contract for Construction issued in 1999, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conditions of contract for Construction (A201) of 2007. To this end, the authors highlighted the provisions related to delays and extension of time and mapped to them the principle of time at large to conclude when time could become at large under the subject contracts. This research would help employers and contractors, entering into projects using any of these standard forms of contract within a common law legal system, to avoid conflicts, claims, and disputes associated with and/or resulting from the time at large principle. This should support effective and efficient contract administration of construction projects.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Time at large; Delay and disruption; Extension of time; Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT); Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC); World Bank; American Institute of Architects (AIA)

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1943-4162; 1943-4170

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2014