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When planning a home renovation project, the contractor will provide a timeline, but it could change for a variety of reasons. If your project falls behind schedule, it’s important to understand why so you can figure out what to do about it.

Reasons Why Your Renovations Might Be Delayed
Some factors are beyond the contractor’s control. For example, bad weather may make it impossible to complete certain types of work. A renovation may be delayed because materials are on backorder, a manufacturer or distributor sent the wrong products, or they arrived damaged. Subcontractors may be busy with other projects or the head contractor may need to inspect completed work before moving onto the next phase of the project. 

The contractor may discover unforeseen problems, such as mold, after the work begins. Unexpected issues may have to be addressed before the planned work can proceed to prevent even more problems later.

Homeowners often agree to a renovation plan, then get a different idea after work has begun. Even one seemingly minor change may require the contractor to make other changes—the ripple effect can put the entire project behind schedule. 

How to Avoid Delays
Work with a licensed contractor who has experience performing the type of work you want done and received positive reviews from recent customers. Discuss a range of options, create a detailed plan and stick to it. Make sure your contract includes a timeline and an explanation of how potential delays will be handled. 

Keep in touch with the contractor on a regular basis so you know the status of the project. Instruct the contractor to inform you of any problems as soon as possible.

What to Do If Your Project Gets Behind Schedule
If the contractor tells you there will be a delay, ask for a specific reason. If the contractor says workers discovered a previously unknown problem with the house or that materials arrived damaged or were the wrong size or style, ask to see the issue and discuss ways to handle it.

If the problem is due to the contractor’s actions or decisions, such as not showing up as promised or allowing crews to leave early, address the issue directly. Point to language in the contract related to the schedule and make it clear that you are dissatisfied. 

Try to resolve the issue amicably. If that isn’t possible, you may have to contact an attorney who specializes in construction or real estate law. The attorney might be able to terminate the contract and get your deposit refunded, depending on the reason for the delay and the specifics of your contract. In many cases, threatening to take legal action is enough to motivate a contractor to get a project back on schedule.