AbstractMore than 2 years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry worldwide still faces myriad challenges. One such challenge is project delays for reasons beyond the parties’ control that, in at least some instances, are due to government mandates and policies designed to control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Such delays may provide contractors with contractual relief, including the right to file a claim for an extension of time (EOT) to perform its work on a given project. Based on our investigation and analysis, we believe that contractors could save time, effort, and money by using our decision-making framework (DMF) to evaluate, prepare, and submit their requests for extension of time claims due to events beyond their reasonable control, including force majeure events. We used thematic decision mapping to develop the framework and sought to validate the proposed decision-making framework in the field. Although our validation efforts were limited in scope, the decision-making framework provides contractors with a practical tool for contractors considering whether to submit a request for extension of the contract time due to force majeure events.Practical ApplicationsUsing thematic decision mapping to develop the decision-making, this study presents a practical tool for contractors who are considering preparing and submitting an EOT claim associated with force majeure events. The developed DMF describes a clear mechanism for contractors to explore the EOT claim decision-making process consisting of five steps, namely, identification, notification, preparation, submission, and negotiation. A real case study was provided to investigate the effectiveness of the DMF in guiding the contractor’s decision-making process. By utilizing this DMF, contractors can better prepare and submit their EOT claims following the systematic procedures presented. A better understanding of the EOT claim decision-making process is achieved through the structured visual representation, the distinction between activities and data, and the delineation of stakeholders’ interaction in the EOT claim decision-making process. Thus, the use of DMF is expected to improve the contractors’ performance in managing EOT claims. Finally, while the real case study demonstrates the potential of the DMF, it is recommended that its rigorous evaluation through systematic application in other scenarios is conducted to establish the generality of the DMF.

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