Whether it is summer, winter, spring or autumn, the Australian weather can be unpredictable. Here’s what small builders and commercial contractors need to have in place to prevent incurring delay damages due to incremental weather.
In building and construction contracts, the term inclement weather refers to any weather that may impede or prevent (as in to stop) works from being conducted in accordance with the contract. This includes interruptions to, or slowing down, of work. Both apply to a period of time and to works being conducted in accordance with the contract.
Small Builders Inclement Weather Check List
Firstly, for construction contracts, the definition of inclement weather can be broken down into three limbs:
- There must be a weather event.
- The event must either interrupt or impede works.
- The works being interrupted or impeded must be the subject of a construction contract.
Now here’s what you need in order to prevent incurring Inclement Weather Damages as the result of a wet weather event:
Review Your Contracts
Ensure your head contracts, subcontracts, and supply contracts include management of inclement weather risks. It is important you understand the rights the contract provides you and the other contracting parties, and how to comply with your contractual obligations.
Update the Construction Program
Even if updating your construction program after an inclement weather event is not contractually required, it is good business practice to communicate effectively and update the construction program along with any sequence of work regularly.
Document All Communication
It is absolutely critical to construction work that the builder and all contractors, suppliers and workers are communicating. Verbal communication does not guarantee compliance. Back up your verbal with written formal notices (email, letter, fax) to ensure proper documentation.
Depending on what your contract says, you may be entitled to a variation to your original contract sum. The basis for the variation includes:
- Out of sequence work;
- Increased costs like industry change and overhead costs accrued; and
- Damage to works.
Out of Sequence Work
Out of sequence work is important to consider. Some trades may not be able to continue work for some days following a weather event. Communicate (verbally and formally) with each other to best manage any out of sequence work.
Work Health and Safety
If the weather event changed the nature or condition of the project site, the WHS officer and team need to determine if the WHS plan or control measures need updating.
It’s good building business practice to address weather risks up front in your quote.