Weather is a real and profound risk on construction projects!
Control the Impact, Not the Weather in Construction!
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.
Dollars or Days
If the evaluation determines critical path activities were impacted as a result of the abnormal and unforeseeable condition, the team should consider seeking a contract modification in order to adjust for the unexpected change to the execution of the project.
In most cases, such weather delays will warrant a time only, or excusable delay, extension of the substantial completion date of the project. This extension will not compensate costs incurred for productivity loss, extended direct and indirect overhead, dewatering or mitigation measures, or other unplanned expenses due to weather delays.
There are circumstances that may lead to a weather delay moving from excusable to compensable, which includes both a time extension and monetary compensation for the delay. This will be based upon any owner involvement in the delay beyond the weather event itself. An example that illustrates the importance of some of the preparation measures above could result from a prior or concurrent owner caused delay in the project. Consider a case where the owner has agreed to furnish equipment to be installed (OFCI), but procurement was delayed four (4) months which stalled installation by the contractor. The delay pushes the installation activity from summer/fall to fall/winter, which is the height of the rainy season. As such, the experienced delay due to weather may have been avoided but for the owner caused delay in OFCI procurement, and a case may be made that the delay should not only be excusable but compensable as well.
While this is a case-specific, fact-driven evaluation, it demonstrates that without the foundation of the documentation, data and communication above, it will be a difficult if not impossible argument to make. For example, if there is no baseline schedule, how can the timing of the intended activity be verified? How would the owner know that the delay might affect the installation activity in such a way?
Control the Impact, Not the Weather
While we will never be able to control or definitively predict the weather itself, we must address it as a real and profound risk on our projects. By establishing the baseline impact expectations, tracking the event in real time and reacting appropriately when it occurs, the weather risk can be accounted for and mitigated. This requires us to start building the arc well before we feel the first drops of the storm.
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 between Harvard and MIT, 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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