Interim completion date

Interim completion dates allow us to address concerns of local agencies, businesses, and the traveling public with regard to the duration of a portion of a contract.

Interim completion dates are a method of providing the contractor with an incentive or disincentive to expedite the completion of specific portions of a contract. This is done by requiring a portion of the contract to be accomplished within a set duration or by a specified date. The portion requiring an interim completion may also include a prescribed start date.

  • The use of working days is recommended over the use of a calendar date. The use of calendar dates will only be approved for rare exceptions. Calendar dates should not be used for the following reasons:
  • There are no provisions in the standard specifications to address under what conditions the calendar date may change.
  • Specifying or implying that the contractor shall meet the date at all costs is expensive.
  • At some point the contractor may include costs in their bid to pay the specified liquidated damages.
  • Should the contractor incur any increase in costs resulting from actions, inactions, or misrepresentations made by the owner, the costs associated with acceleration would be the owner's responsibility without considering the opportunity to delay the date.
  • There is some confusion introduced by requiring a calendar date as well as working days for overall contract duration.

Interim completion requirements should be the exception rather than the rule. Constraining the contractor's schedule by requiring an interim completion may extend overall contract duration and almost assuredly results in additional costs. A designer may realize the need for an interim completion date as they build the schedule for construction. A need may be operational, such as a ramp that may only be shut down for a fixed amount of time (maximum allowable time measured by working days). The same could apply to outside constraints, such as environmental fish windows, or local agency/business requirements. The designer should consider an order of work as an alternative to interim completions.

Care should be taken by the designer to make the contract documents clear on why the interim completion date is included in the contract. This could provide the contractor the necessary information to propose meeting our concerns in a manner other than that specified in the contract. If everyone involved in a construction project understands why a requirement exists, there is a better chance that the restriction will be met.

Once the interim completions are identified, the proposed project schedule needs to be carefully reviewed to determine whether they are possible and what the associated costs will be.


Projects for which there is an element of the contract that causes significant impact to customers, such that the damages clearly outweigh the cost of added duration are candidates for interim completions.

If it is determined during the design phase that a certain element must be completed within a specific period of time or must be completed by a specific date, then interim completion dates may be considered. Items that have led to successful interim completion dates include:

  • Segments completed by the beginning of a school year.
  • Business restrictions surrounding peak shopping periods.
  • Maximum duration of a specific closure (local agency or community concerns)

Determining and supporting damages

Pre-bid procedures

Prior to bidding, project designers should meet with the Region Construction and Construction Project Office personnel to discuss advantages and disadvantages of this method of construction administration. In addition, a careful review of both weather limitations and the proposed construction schedule should be done to ensure that the interim completion is attainable. Some questions to consider are:

  • Will the construction project office be able to meet increased staffing demands of the contractor's schedule?
  • Will the interim completion requirement be successful?
  • Will the increased impact of an accelerated work schedule be at an acceptable level?

Special provisions

For work that needs to be done within a given number of working days: Note: this specification needs to be tailored to each situation and approved by the construction office. The construction office is also available to review drafts of your specification.


Section 1-08.5 is supplemented with the following:

Interim Time for Completion

Closure of *** 1 ***. The Contractor shall be allowed to temporarily close *** 2 *** for *** 3 ****working days. (Depending upon the situation you may have define what Closure of "*** 1 ***" means, one or all lanes?, detour?, substantial?, intermittent opening?, final striping?, signals complete?, safety items?, etc.)

*** 1 *** - Description of work area

*** 2 *** - Description of work area

*** 3 *** - Number of working days

Section 1-08.9 is supplemented with the following:

Liquidated damages in the amount of *** 1 *** per working day will be assessed for failure to physically complete the temporary closure *** 2 *** within the physical completion time specified. (prorated to the nearest?) Such damages will accrue separately for each phase or stage of work as specified. In the event damages occur on a concurrent date, the larger of the two damages will apply for such days.

*** 1 *** - Amount of liquidated damages.

*** 2 *** Description of work area

Background information

Identifying the actual cost

The challenge with any interim completion deadline is identifying the actual cost of obtaining it. Contractor acceleration can be a challenge to estimate. Once an estimated cost is established, region leadership needs to make the decision whether the added cost is warranted.

Cost estimates with interim completion deadline

Once the cost estimates are made for an interim completion deadline, any delay in the start date will impact the cost of the interim completion. It is the responsibility of the designer to ensure that any interim completion deadline is obtainable and that accurate pricing is provided in the estimate.

Designers should anticipate that there will be a cost for the reduction in days. Whether through acceleration, aggressive management of subcontractors, or specialty equipment, it is likely that the construction price will increase.

Calendar date for interim completion

An interim completion date (calendar date deadline) is enforceable. Any interim liquidated damages need to be carefully defined and be defendable. Should changes occur during the contract prior to the interim completion date (weather, third party delays, plan errors) then WSDOT will have difficulty enforcing a calendar date.

User costs versus administration costs

Damages are usually based on user costs. If specific situation exist where we will incur significant administration costs due to a delay, then administration costs can also be used.

Time extensions for interim completion

If a change or delay occurs which will impact an interim completion, the project office will have to address the interim completion time requirement in the change order. We can either accept the delay to the interim completion or pay for schedule recovery. Time impacts due to changes must be addressed during the initial change order process whenever possible.

Incentive for early completion

If interim completion can be further mitigated by an even earlier completion, then including an incentive based on the interim completion may be acceptable. An example where this could work is a project that directly impacts businesses (adjacent to a shopping mall) in which work must be completed prior to a peak shopping window.

An incentive may not make sense on projects such as those tied to schools (work completed by opening day) or concurrent work where an earlier than scheduled completion would not provide any public benefit.

Restricting unworkable days

Unworkable days may be restricted on any project. Designers should note that tightening the definition of an unworkable day will directly impact unit bid prices. Only one definition for an unworkable day should be used on a project.

Slow down on ice and snow.

It's easier to skid or lose control traveling at higher speeds. Give yourself more time to stop.

Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.