Did you account for weather delays in the construction contract?

| Jul 12, 2019

One of the biggest unknowns in any construction project is the weather. When you bid for a job, negotiate the contract and start the job, you can’t predict what the weather will do from day to day after construction begins.

For this reason, you need to include provisions in your contract regarding what happens when weather stops work. You need to identify what weather events allow excusable delays and what kind of extension of time you receive.

When weather is outside the norm

Determining whether a weather delay fits the definition of “excusable” depends on the circumstances. First, an excusable delay is one out of your control and outside the norm. Your contract needs to address what you and the other parties will consider abnormal. Examining weather patterns here in Austin helps identify what the normal weather is. Anything outside of those parameters would constitute an excusable weather delay.

The contract also needs to specify the extension of time you receive to resume work and complete the project. More than likely, you will need to provide meteorological data proving the weather conditions fell outside of the norm.

Determining extensions of time

The primary factor in determining how much additional time you receive to complete a project after a significant weather event often depends on its impact on the project. Once the weather event ends, you may want to go out to the site, survey the condition of the project and take photographs. This will help you substantiate the extension of time you request. The more documentation you collect, the better.

You may not receive compensation for the delay, but as long as you receive the extra time you need without any penalties, you may be able to rest easy and resume work as quickly as possible. Your contract should also specify that you do not need to compensate the developer and/or owner of the property for any costs associated with an excusable weather delay. You could also negotiate an increase in the price of the contract if the weather event altered the physical characteristics of the project.

Negotiating weather delays

In order to help ensure that your contract satisfactorily addresses excusable weather delays, you may want to involve an attorney in your negotiations. Not only can this improve the chances of executing a contract you can live with, but you could also gain an understanding of your rights should something go wrong.