How long does a licensed contractor have to finish a project?

How long do they have to finishfrom time of start date? The contract did not have a completion date written in it, though he verbally quoted 12 weeks.

Asked on September 16, 2012 under Business Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your written contract with your licensed contractor does not have a complete date, then under the laws of all states in this country the completion date is an ordinary reasonable date concerning the scope of the project within the custom and practice of the contracting industry where the project is.

If the contractor verbally quoted you 12 weeks from start to end of completion, then send him or her a letter memorializing the 12 week time period stating your intent that such completion date be honored. Keep a copy of the letter for future use and need.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The law does not set a definitive or definite time for completion. If there is no written agreement specifying a completion date, then--

1) An oral agreement or representation (promise) as to when the work would be done is enforceable in theory, though as practical matter, it can be very difficult to prove if the contractor does not support the date you recall; or

2) In the absence of even an oral agreement, the contractor would normally be expected to complete the work in "reasonable" amount of time for a project of this type and magnitude.

Note however that the contractor is not responsible for delays beyond his/her control--i.e. unexpectedly bad weather; the unavailability of needed materials or parts; etc.

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