Temple of Delay: Spielberg Makes Delay Claims Interesting, Dooms Subcontractor’s Claim In The Process

Last night, I took a break from Hurricane Irene coverage and caught an episode of  the Discovery Channel’s award winning, Steven Spielberg produced documentary, The Rising:  Rebuilding Ground Zero.  Interestly, the episode I caught dealt with construction project scheduling and delays.  Specifically, it focused on the challenges that  the project’s concrete subcontractor was having maintaining the schedule and the impacts the concrete sub’s delays were having on subsequent trades.  Leave it to Steven Spielberg to make delay claims, long known to make Judges beg for settlement and juries’ eyes glaze over, interesting and understandable to the average viewer.  The episode is a lesson to construction attorneys on how to explain delay claims in an uncomplicated understandable manner. 

However, in the process of presenting the challenegs a contractor faces in maintaining a construction schedule in an enjoyable and understanable manner, the episode also probably doomed any chance of the concrete subcontractor – who the producers as far as I know do not name in the program – from recovering any delay claim it may have.  Throughout the episode, the concrete sub’s colorful (and no doubt well intentioned) forman, Georgie Fitzgerald, repeatedly admits that it is the subcontractor’s fault that the project is behind schedule and that the concrete sub’s delay is impacting following trades.  You get an idea of what I am talking about in the imbedded clip below.

What the clip doesn’t show that the full episode does, is Mr. Fitzgerald explaining how he intends to make up project time and why he feels the project is delayed.  The episode even goes as far as showing project meetings involving all players discussing the delay.  Rarely do we see first hand how such meetings playout as we are usually left to only speculate based upon vague project meeting minutes.  If the delay claim ever did go to litigation, one could imagine a resourceful attorney simply playing these clips of Mr. Fitzgerald to a Judge, Jury, or Arbitrator. 

Because my bedtime is around 9 pm, I did not stay up to watch later episodes and am not sure if the concrete sub ever made up the delay.  I am also curious to know if a delay claim ever arose from the concrete sub’s delay.  And, if so, if this episode is being used in that litigation.  I know I certainly would use it. 

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