Commercial – Letter to subcontractor for work delay

Letter to subcontractor for work delay

Letter to subcontractor for work delay example and template

About work delays

Work delays are relatively common occurrences on construction and industrial projects and sites all over the world. The nature of a delay means that of course delays weren't planned, but they are somewhat expected on projects which feature thousands of moving parts and a number of factors outside of the owner, contractor and subcontractors control.

The major problem with most of these work delays is that there are so many interconnected and dependent parts of every project. Being delayed doesn't simply mean you can pick the project up where it left off because:

  • Commitments have been made
  • Sites and companies have assigned resources and planned their schedules
  • Deadlines need to be hit for certain reasons
  • Permits and other work related factors expire

Work delays are a headache for the asset owner and contractor, and they can also be a nightmare for subcontractors who run tight ships and don't have many spare resources to move around and allocate in response to delays.

Managing work delays is a critical part of project and company management for all project parties and stakeholders.

How work delays are managed and communicated can differ from project to project and company to company, but the idea is generally the same:

  1. The cause of the delay needs to be understood and agreed to so that if a party is responsible, other parties are not penalised and are duly compensated
  2. The owner or contractor must communicate the delay to the affected subcontractors so that they can plan accordingly, adjust their schedules, make informed decisions etc.

This communication piece is absolutely critical, as is the speed by which each party is able to communicate the delay effectively.

Writing a letter to subcontractors for work delays

One of the traditional ways in which contractors have communicated work delays to subcontractors is by a formal letter.

Writing a letter to subcontractors for work delays is never pleasant, and can often lead to further discussions, claims and disputes, but it's the first step in getting through the delay as quickly and unscathed as possible.

A letter to a subcontractor for work delays is a quick and understood method of delivering the 'news'.

What's in this letter will vary from project to project and delay to delay, but the example letter format below is a proven and easily usable framework for communicating almost any delay via a letter.

The key components of the letter are (1) important record keeping information which formalises the record (2) the opening paragraph and heading which clearly states what the letter is about and (3) a reasonably detailed description/reason for the delay as well as the amended date or dates which are relevant to them.

[Insert Date]

[Insert Subcontractor Name]

[Insert Address]

[Contract Number]


I am writing to you because I would like to inform you of the work delays and why we are having them.

The [Schedule or phase of works] was to be completed by [Insert date], but [Insert reasons for delay] have become the reason in delay of the completion of the work. These reasons made it impossible for [Insert work which couldn't be completed] thus it delayed our work which must be amended to [Insert applicable data or timeframe].

I hope that you will understand and will [Extend deadline, re-arrange etc.]

Signed by,
Authorised Person

A better way to 'write letters' to subcontractors for work delays

For some companies who have moved many of their forms and documents into digital and efficient formats, a letter to subcontractors is no longer the best way to communicate the delay effectively or efficiently.

In fact, many companies have found that a better way to write letters to subcontractors for work delays is to complete an extension of time form like this, or a version very similar to it.

Documenting a delay in this way has many benefits for both companies.

  • It provides a more standardised and reliable framework for companies to create and send work delay notifications at scale
  • Owners and contractors can provide subcontractors with more detail and proof in this letter format including photo and video references
  • Both companies can edit, write on and collaborate on the same work delay form in real-time
  • Companies can sign off on these forms digitally, reducing the back and forth over email and PDFs, and eliminating disputes

In addition, when you turn these work delay 'letters' into records just like your site forms, you are able to store them in the same way as your records.

Every document prepared for a subcontractor work delay is stored and organised in a neat and organised way which makes finding them and showing them in the face of an audit or dispute easy - unlike letters which are caught in email threads etc.

Letter to subcontractor for work delay

Use this digital letter of work delay template for free now.

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About Lance Hodgson

Lance is VP of Marketing at Sitemate. His aim is to bring awareness to a brighter future for the Built World where industrial workers and companies work smarter.

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