This article was first published by Spire Consulting Group, LLC, and is republished here with permission of Spire Consulting Group, LLC. © 2018 – 2019 Spire Consulting Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Impact of Weather Events on Construction Projects and How to Prepare
We are raised to plan for rainy days in our personal lives. Keep an umbrella in the car, allow extra time to travel, clean the gutters. We do the same on our construction projects… right?
The extensive rainfall the central United States has experienced (and other adverse weather) underscores the importance of treating weather impacts on our construction projects with due deference, as it can profoundly affect our schedules, productivity and costs. Weather events, such as those seen recently, can quickly turn a profitable, successful project into a loss.
“Surely, as the contractor, I can’t be expected to bear the impact of such an unseasonable weather event, correct?” “Clearly, as an owner, it’s not my responsibility to deal with means and methods for mitigation, right?” As with most things, the answer is not a clear yes or no. It depends on the preparations made prior to the event and measures taken during the event as well as the post event actions.
Preparing for the Storm
The impact of unforeseen conditions such as weather events depends on how it is incorporated into the project during the planning phase. The process outlined prior to the start of a project for such events will dictate the methods and tools available once it incurred.
A critical component is to establish the amount of weather impact that is “normal” for the time period and location of the project, and how many weather days are foreseeable throughout the duration of the project. However, this is not an exact science, and can be a major area of fundamental disagreement between parties after the event has occurred.
It is best to establish a relevant reference (i.e. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) records, etc.) that will correlate most closely to the actual conditions and ensure all parties agree upon it at the inception of the project when it is not in controversy as it will be less contentious and more easily agreed upon. This may be stipulated in the contract or specifications by the owner or in an assumption, condition or baseline schedule narrative by the contractor.
While contractual provisions may identify how to communicate or document this type of weather delay, understanding what should have been reasonably anticipated may be a challenge. Further, proving and quantifying impacts resulting from an unforeseen condition can be difficult, so incorporating a reasonable amount of weather impacts during the planning stage is essential.
More in the next blog post about the “Impact of Weather Events on Construction Projects and How to Prepare”…
Spire Consulting Group, LLC (Spire) is a multi-disciplined construction consulting and project management firm that provides innovative construction advisory and dispute resolution services needed to deliver complex projects on time and within budget. Spire’s project and construction management experts develop customized and comprehensive programs to successfully manage costs, schedules, and associated risks, creating a results-oriented environment.
Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, WeatherBuild® offers a suite of decision support solutions that empower contractors, owners and operators to improve situational awareness and make better-informed decisions about weather events, schedule impacts, safety risks and probable outcomes.
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