February 2020 was the wettest Februarys recorded for England, NI and Wales, and 2nd wettest for Scotland. Us Brits are used to it. We expect it. However, as the years go by, we are seeing far more adverse weather coming to our shores – and more creative storm names! It feels that every other week there is a weather warning regarding a certain condition be it rain, sleet, snow or wind. Roll on Spring! In this blog we look at – can my builder blame the weather for delays?
For most renovation projects, these aren’t a problem. Nearly all interior work is unaffected by this and delays are unusual. However, if you have a large project or renovation occurring externally that requires intensive work such as a brand new roof, then the weather can cause mayhem with your plans.
In fact, these kinds of delays are (or at least should be) expected and incorporated into time estimates for a completion date. However, for some projects, the weather becomes too much and it causes delays. It can even set back time further because your builder needs to repair any damage caused.
Strong winds can prevent work at height, on roofs or with cranes, damage existing works and even collapse scaffolding.
Rain, snow and hail will likely halt electrical work, cause access problems for heavy machinery, affect concreting and can cause flooding on poorly drained sites and cause dangerous conditions for workers.
Disruptions on the roads can cause delays for suppliers delivering goods to site or prevent staff from getting to the site.
These delays can play havoc with a carefully constructed plan, pun intended. These can have knock on effects for the entire project. So, what happens when the weather isn’t your or your builder’s friend?
What Happens Next?
Depending on your contractor or construction company of choice, these delays are prepared for with the appropriate safety measures, equipment and contingencies.
However, if the weather is bad enough it can result in a request for an extension of time (or EOT for short). This means the contractor or construction company gives written notice to the contract administrator or customer (you) identifying the relevant event that has caused the delay.
This formal request can only be requested under certain events. The list of “Relevant Events” under the JCT Standard Building Contract 2011 includes:
- deferment of possession of the site
- works by statutory undertakers
- exceptionally adverse weather
- civil commotion
- terrorism and strikes; and
- ‘any impediment, prevention or default … by the Employer’.
For those who don’t know, The Joint Contracts Tribunal, also known as the JCT, produces standard contracts for construction projects in the United Kingdom. This is one of the most common types of contract you are signing when undertaking any construction work.
Usually if the contract doesn’t mention weather delays then these will be the contractor’s responsibility. To counteract this, many contracts will identify adverse weather within the extension of time provisions as an employer risk event. This means (in plain English) that you begin the project on the understanding that bad weather can hamper the timeline and potentially lead to extra costs to you.
Remember that under the standard JCT Design & Build Contracts (both 2011 and 2016 variations) they define exceptionally adverse weather conditions as a “Relevant Event”. This entitles the contractor or builder to claim a fair and reasonable extension of time without a penalty to them.
What Should My Contractor or Builder Do?
Your builder should do three things to handle any adverse weather: planning, notices and record-keeping. These could equally be referred to as before, during and after.
Your builder should be looking at any potential issues that the weather may pose to a project and take that into account by putting in preventative measures. If your project is happening during the rains of winter or the height of summer, your builder should make allowances and preparations to not only make it a safe environment for everyone, but to make sure your work is completed on time.
For example, if it snows heavily in June then that can lead to an EOT because it hasn’t been planned for, however, if it snows in December, this should be accounted and prepared for.
If adverse weather conditions do strike, providing a notice of EOT and keeping these records are very important. Things such as photos from the site, details of logistical issues (closed roads or difficult travelling conditions) and even video footage should be kept as proof of why the adverse weather caused a delay.
The issues caused could include damage to existing works resulting from storms or flooding as well as severe weather preventing work on-site or access to the site. Having these records will be useful should there be any future legal issues (but let’s hope it never gets to that).
For any work that you need, regardless of the weather, we plan ahead and give you a clear picture of what is happening. So, for your next big project speak with us today. Click for Contact >