Weather can be a major area of fundamental disagreement between parties!
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.
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.
Ask your team the following questions:
- Are the weather impact durations substantiated by contract, assumptions in the bid, reference documents or other pre-established quantum?
- Did the contractor prepare a detailed baseline schedule for the project? Does it include distinct, logic-tied weather activities representing the amount of time anticipated separate?
- Are the weather activities explicit as to time period and separate from float? Do they correlate to wet seasons for the region based on historical data?
- Is there an agenda item during the project meetings that addresses weather? Does the team track weather days on an ongoing basis?
- Is the project site located in a relevant area to a NOAA monitoring site for recordkeeping purposes, or is there a micro-climate that may warrant a site-specific weather station(s)?
- Has the owner reviewed and accepted the baseline schedule? Have the subcontractors bought in?
- Are periodic schedule updates maintained that show consumption of weather days and/or impacts to connected activities?
- Have best management practices (BMP) such as canopies, shrink wrapping, dewatering, shoring, storm water pollution prevention plans (SWPPP) measures, dry-in work sequencing prioritization or other efforts been considered that can make the project more weather resilient?
If the answers to the above questions are in the affirmative, then the team is well on its way to being prepared to mitigate the impact of weather events on the project schedule and budget. If not, it may be time to revisit the priorities of the team with regard to preparation.
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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