As Sydney winds up the Easter long weekend with rain that plans to stay around until Thursday, we thought we’d rustle up a little something for any “outdoorsy” tradesmen dealing with wet weather this week.

Read on for Small Builders Inclement Weather Check List.

No matter what the season Australia’s weather is fairly unpredictable. So here is what Small Builders recommends builders and commercial contractors have in place to prevent delay damages due to incremental weather.

In commercial or residential building contracts inclement weather refers to any form of weather that could impede or prevent (stop) building work from being carried out as stated in the contract. This includes interruptions or delays.

Before we get to the checklist, something to keep in mind, in relation to construction contracts, is how inclement weather is broken down into three criteria:

  1. There must be a proven weather event.
  2. The weather event must either interrupt or slow down work.
  3. The work that is interrupted or stopped must be part, outlined, in the construction contract.

The Small Builders Inclement Weather Check List

In order to prevent incurring Inclement Weather Damages as the result of a weather event, here’s what we recommend:

Review the contract: Ensure the head contract, any subcontracts, and any supply contracts include risk management of inclement weather. 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 your construction program: Even if not contractually required, you should update your construction program after an inclement weather event.  It is good business practice and effective communication to regularly update the construction program and any sequence of work.

Document every piece of communication: This is critical to construction work. All builders and contractors, suppliers and workers should document all communications. Verbal communication will not back you up when you need to prove compliance. Always document your verbal agreements with written notices (email, letter, fax).

Check variation entitlements: Depending on what the contract says, you may be entitled to a variation to the original contract sum. The basis for the variation includes:

  1. Out of sequence work;
  2. Increased costs like industry change and overhead costs accrued; and
  3. Damage to works.

Consider out of sequence work: Some trades may not be able to continue work for a number of days following a weather event. It is important to communicate (verbally and formally) on how to best manage any out of sequence work.

Work Health and Safety (WHS): A weather event might change the nature or condition of the building site. If this is the case, the person responsible for WHS on site will need to determine if the WHS plan and control measures need to be updated.

Addressing weather risks up front in your quote and having an inclement weather management system in place help you avoid disputes.

Read up about best business in building contracts in the Get Compliant categories section of this blog.