Adverse Weather Conditions Climatic - Construction

Adverse Climatic Conditions

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

There may very well be times when a project is affected by extreme weather. Climatic conditions such as heavy rainfall, extreme temperatures, snow or high winds. In the 21st Century, adverse weather is becoming increasingly common it seems. But what are the requirements under a contract for making a claim or recouping time and money in the event of extreme climatic conditions?

However, 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. The climatic conditions may not be exceptionally adverse. If so, the contractor should have reasonably anticipated such conditions, and allow for them within the price and programme.

FIDIC uses the term ‘exceptionally adverse climatic conditions’. The JCT contracts refer to ‘exceptionally adverse weather conditions’. Both give 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. However, it goes a step further and removes speculation as to what may be considered as ‘exceptional’. NEC defines 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.

Bringing A Claim

If you wish to bring about a successful claim therefore, you will need to prove that the conditions were exceptional. Local meteorological records are a good way of proving that the conditions actually occurred. They may possibly also be used to demonstrate that they were exceptional. An Internet search may also reveal historical data for the site location. Then you should compare the records for the weather event in question, 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, the claim will most likely fail.

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

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