Acts of prevention, actions of the employer that delay the contract completion date, may entitle the contractor to an extension of time. But what if there is concurrent delay by the contractor? Does the contractor still receive an extension of time?

The contract wording in North Midland v Cyden Homes was, in the court’s view, “crystal clear” in denying the contractor an extension of time for an act of prevention where the contractor was itself in concurrent delay. And, although it was unnecessary to do so, the judge also considered the case law on the relationship between acts of prevention and causation. He said it might assist in avoiding similar misunderstandings in future cases.

The judges in two previous cases had reached the same conclusion that, for the prevention principle to apply, the contractor must be able to demonstrate that the employer’s acts or omissions had prevented the contractor from achieving an earlier completion date and that, if that earlier completion date would not have been achieved anyway, because of the contractor’s own concurrent delays, the prevention principle would not apply. The judge in this case said that, if he had to decide the point, he would apply and follow the same reasoning.

North Midland Building Ltd v Cyden Homes Ltd [2017] EWHC 2414