Article Date: 03/15/2013


Wrestling in the Mud or Dancing in the Rain: Planning for Mother Nature


By John S. Crane, PSP, CFCC

 

The purpose of this article is to shed light on some of the questions and scenarios that stakeholders need to consider when addressing weather in the project schedule as a result of commonly used contract documents. In addition, this article will provide practical approaches for establishing the amount of “reasonably anticipated” weather as well as ways to incorporate the “norm” in a schedule and track actual weather effects during the project. The reason to do this is that troubled projects often finish with a bucket full of puzzling “delays” or “impacts.” The challenge of sorting out such complex delay claims is often exacerbated by inadequate reasoning for time extension requests coupled with inaccurate calculations of the delays or impacts. Allegations of the role Mother Nature played in the project finishing late are frequently part of this puzzle.

 

The Contract

 

This section hopefully will demonstrate that by providing the proper information and guidance in the contract documents, many common issues concerning weather can be eliminated. Two examples of standard contract language are shown below to illustrate the questions that sometimes exist in a contract.

 

The 2007 edition of the American Institute of Architects’ AIA-A201 standard agreement states:

 

“4.3.7.2   If adverse weather conditions are the basis for a Claim for additional time, such Claim shall be documented by data substantiating that weather conditions were abnormal for the period of time, could not have been reasonably anticipated and had an adverse effect on the scheduled construction.”

 

And, the recently issued ConsensusDOCS document states:

 

“6.3.1   If the Contractor is delayed at any time in the commencement or progress of the Work by any cause beyond the control of the Contractor, the Contractor shall be entitled to an equitable extension of the Contract Time. Examples of the causes beyond the control of the Contractor include … adverse weather conditions not reasonably anticipated; encountering Hazardous Materials….”

 

These clauses leave us with the question about what is considered to be “abnormal” or what could have been “reasonably anticipated.”

 


 

John Crane helps owners, contractors, and the attorneys that represent them understand and address issues, in many cases construction delays, that could potentially or have affected their projects. He currently serves as a Director at Trauner Consulting Services Inc., a construction management consulting firm. He can be reached at (407) 345-0366 or at John.Crane@Traunerconsulting.com.

 



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