Dispute Over Hidden Delays in a NYC School Construction Project

This case study explores a dispute between a general contractor and subcontractor over hidden delays in an NYC school construction project.

ByZach Barreto


Published on February 6, 2024

Construction meeting

Case Overview

This case study delves into a contentious dispute between a general contractor and a subcontractor engaged in a New York City school construction project. The NYC School Construction Authority (SCA), the overseeing body, had set an inflexible deadline for the project's completion. To meet this deadline, the general contractor sought the services of a large subcontractor, who is the plaintiff in this case.

Before entering into the contract, the subcontractor requested that the general contractor waive an exculpatory clause related to damages arising from delays in scheduling and phasing. The general contractor agreed to these terms but concealed the actual schedule from the subcontractor. This hidden schedule documented extensive delays, revealing that they were significantly behind when the subcontractor executed its contract.

The subcontractor alleges that if they had been aware of the actual schedule provided to the SCA, they would not have signed the contract. They claim to have suffered damages due to these undisclosed delays and argue that the general contractor should be held responsible for compensation.

Questions to the Construction expert and their responses


Can you provide some background on your experience in construction management, specifically dealing with the NYC School Construction Authority?

I bring 38 years of experience in construction to this case. My involvement with SCA projects has ranged from roles as a baseline scheduler to serving as a scheduling impact/delay consultant. After eight years as a mechanic and project superintendent, I transitioned into project management in 1993.


Could you briefly explain the standard SCA procedure when dealing with delays in construction?

The SCA has specific procedures for managing construction delays. It mandates a notice of delay (NOD) within two days of its discovery and requires a time impact analysis (TIA) within 20 days. Upon submission, the SCA reviews the TIA within 15 days. Additionally, it necessitates fragments and narratives to accompany the claim. These contract requirements are detailed in the SCA's specification book under Changes, Delays, Claims and Time Extensions.


Have you previously reviewed a case similar to this? If so, could you elaborate?

I have been involved in numerous cases concerning construction delays and contractual disputes.

My expertise lies in analyzing project schedules, identifying potential or actual delays, and determining their impact on the overall project timeline. My extensive experience in construction management, particularly with the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA), positions them ideally to provide valuable insights into this case. My understanding of SCA procedures for handling construction delays will be instrumental in assessing the validity of the subcontractor's claims against the general contractor.

About the expert

This expert brings over 25 years of experience in construction and occupational safety, with a focus on New York City development. They are OSHA certified in construction and have authored an extensive textbook on construction management, currently used in graduate studies at a prestigious university. Their professional background includes roles as a project manager, senior scheduler, chief estimator, and senior project manager, specializing in construction claims, contracts, building code compliance, accident investigations, and design evaluations.

Expert headshot



About the author

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto

Zach Barreto is a distinguished professional in the legal industry, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Research at the Expert Institute. With a deep understanding of a broad range of legal practice areas, Zach's expertise encompasses personal injury, medical malpractice, mass torts, defective products, and many other sectors. His skills are particularly evident in handling complex litigation matters, including high-profile cases like the Opioids litigation, NFL Concussion Litigation, California Wildfires, 3M earplugs, Elmiron, Transvaginal Mesh, NFL Concussion Litigation, Roundup, Camp Lejeune, Hernia Mesh, IVC filters, Paraquat, Paragard, Talcum Powder, Zantac, and many others.

Under his leadership, the Expert Institute’s research team has expanded impressively from a single member to a robust team of 100 professionals over the last decade. This growth reflects his ability to navigate the intricate and demanding landscape of legal research and expert recruitment effectively. Zach has been instrumental in working on nationally significant litigation matters, including cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, toxic chemical exposure, and wrongful death, among others.

At the Expert Institute, Zach is responsible for managing all aspects of the research department and developing strategic institutional relationships. He plays a key role in equipping attorneys for success through expert consulting, case management, strategic research, and expert due diligence provided by the Institute’s cloud-based legal services platform, Expert iQ.

Educationally, Zach holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and European History from Vanderbilt University.

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