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The importance of a strong and thorough force majeure clause

As a contractor or other construction professional, you’re familiar with force majeure contract clauses. Florida construction projects can be impacted by natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to sinkholes — not to mention man-made disasters, like fires on the other side of the country or wars thousands of miles away that can affect the availability of needed materials.

It’s crucial not simply to have a force majeure clause in your contracts, but to have one that’s thoughtfully written. This will help you avoid liability if an unforeseen event delays or even completely derails a project. It will also help you prevent litigation and preserve your business relationship with the other party(ies) to the contract.

What should a force majeure clause include?

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” force majeure clause. It should be written with the specific project and parties in mind. However, among the things that should be included are specifics regarding:

  • Under what conditions it will be invoked
  • Who the contractor will notify (and how) if they invoke it
  • The contractor’s continuing obligations to the project after invoking the clause

A force majeure clause is intended to prevent construction professionals from liability if unforeseen circumstances cause a project to be delayed or canceled. 

Preventing the need to invoke the force majeure clause

A common challenge to the invocation of a force majeure clause is that the circumstances that caused it shouldn’t have been “unforeseen.” That’s why it’s important to minimize the potential for unforeseen circumstances by keeping an eye on conditions (weather and otherwise) locally, nationally and even internationally. It’s also wise to have more than one back-up plan ready to go if it becomes necessary.

Whether you need to include a robust force majeure clause in your contracts or you’re already facing potential contract litigation, it’s crucial to have experienced legal guidance. This can help you protect your business and your reputation.