Time is money in construction, and project delays can cause contractors to incur substantial additional costs. To avoid responsibility for paying these costs, project owners often include a no-damage-for-delay (NDFD) clause in the contract, where legally permitted. An example of a typical NDFD clause reads as follows:
The Contractor agrees to make no claim for damages for delay in the performance of this contract occasioned by any act or omission to act of the [Owner] or any of its representatives, and agrees that any such claim shall be fully compensated for by an extension of time to complete performance of the work as provided herein.
An NDFD clause may bar a contractor from recovering delay damages. But, in most states, the enforceability of NDFD clauses is also subject to exceptions. As shown in the clause quoted above, NDFD clauses often provide that the exclusive remedy for delay is an extension of time. The issue is whether an NDFD clause, which provides a time extension as an exclusive remedy, also bars claims for acceleration. As explained below, there are several approaches to this issue.