Michael L. Feinstein, P.A.

The weather deserves attention in your construction contracts

South Florida has not escaped the recent trend of extreme weather that is taking over the country. As a general contractor, you already know that your industry lives and dies by the weather, and it is the one thing over which you have zero control.

For this reason, you will definitely want to address it in all of your construction contracts. Even so, you may want to resist the urge to put in a boilerplate provision for this issue since many factors could come into play regarding how the weather could affect your projects. For instance, the time of year in which you will be working could mean more or less weather issues.

Will the weather impact your project?

More than likely, nearly every project in which you take part will experience some sort of weather issue. When you bid on a contract, you need to take this into consideration. Then, when you enter the contract negotiation phase, you can get into more detail. You will need to account for some expected delays due to weather, along with unexpected ones.

The primary issue with weather delays is what it will cost you. You could take a hit for labor, materials, equipment and supplies. It may be possible for the property owner to agree to take on a portion of these costs. You will also need to address how any weather-related claims will be handled.

Preparing for weather delays

In order to attempt to head off any potential disputes with the property owner regarding weather delays, make sure that you keep accurate and meticulous records regarding everything that goes on at the job site. Moreover, prepare a plan for what will happen when a weather delay occurs. The plan will need to contain information such as the following:

  • Contact information for key personnel
  • Contact information for third parties, such as suppliers, equipment providers and vendors
  • Contact information for crews, subcontractors and anyone else who may be scheduled to be at the site on a particular day
  • Resources to take care of those impacted by the weather, such as temporary transportation, housing and more
  • Resources for lighting, fuel, bathroom facilities and generators
  • A plan for debris cleanup and disposal

Your project may also need other information in this plan. The above just represent the basics.

The bottom line

When negotiating your construction contracts, you will need to look at how the weather will impact each particular project. From there, you will need to enter into negotiations with the property owner in order to minimize the impact a weather delay could have on your bottom line. In order to make sure that you receive the best possible terms, you may want to work with an attorney familiar with both contract and construction law.

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