Climatic Conditions

We recently had a request on our LinkedIn page to discuss when climatic conditions may be provide grounds to a claim.

There may very well be times when a project is affected by climatic conditions such as heavy rainfall, extreme temperatures, snow or high winds, but the test as to whether such conditions provide grounds for a claim is generally not whether they affected the project or not, but whether the conditions were exceptional. If the climatic conditions are not exceptionally adverse, then the contractor is deemed to have been able to have reasonably anticipated such conditions and to have allowed for them within his price and programme.

FIDIC uses the term ‘exceptionally adverse climatic conditions’ and the JCT contracts refer to ‘exceptionally adverse weather conditions’ as giving grounds for extensions of time. The key word here of course is ‘exceptional’. The NEC contract provides that ‘adverse weather’ may be a claimable event, but goes a step further and removes subjective speculation as to what may be considered as ‘exceptional’ by defining that this may only be applied if a weather measurement which is shown to occur on average less frequently than once in 10 years, is recorded within a calendar month.

If you wish to bring about a successful claim therefore, it will be necessary to prove that the conditions were in fact exceptional. Local meteorological records are a good way of proving that the conditions actually occurred and may possibly also be used to demonstrate that they were exceptional. An Internet search may also reveal historical data for the site location so that the records for the conditions in question may be compared with the average or even better, with historical extreme conditions. If you do not prove, firstly that the conditions delayed or otherwise affected the project and secondly that the conditions really were exceptional, then the claim will most likely fail.

Have you worked on projects where climatic conditions effected completion? Comment below and let’s get some discussion going.

Interested in learning more about construction claims and how to manage them effectively? Attend our 2-day Construction Claims Intensive Training Course scheduled for 14 & 15 June in Abu Dhabi

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