Climatic Conditions

We recently had a request on social media to discuss when climatic conditions may provide grounds to a claim.

There may very well be times when a project is affected by climatic conditions such as heavy rainfall, extreme temperatures, snow or high winds, but the test as to whether such conditions provide grounds for a claim is generally not whether they affected the project or not, but whether the conditions were exceptional. If the climatic conditions are not exceptionally adverse, then the contractor is deemed to have been able to have reasonably anticipated such conditions and to have allowed for them within his price and programme.

FIDIC uses the term ‘exceptionally adverse climatic conditions’ and the JCT contracts refer to ‘exceptionally adverse weather conditions’ as giving grounds for extensions of time. The key word here of course is ‘exceptionally’. The NEC contract provides that ‘adverse weather’ may be a claimable event, but goes a step further and removes subjective speculation as to what may be considered as exceptional by including a provisions that this may only be applied if a weather measurement which is shown to occur on average less frequently than once in 10 years, is recorded within a calendar month.

If you wish to bring about a successful claim therefore, it will be necessary to prove that the conditions were in fact exceptional. Local metrological records are a good way of proving that the conditions actually occurred and may possibly also be used to demonstrate that they were exceptional. An Internet search may also reveal historical data for the site location so that the records for the conditions in question may be compared with the average, or even better, with historical extreme conditions. If you do not prove, firstly that the conditions delayed or otherwise affected the project and secondly that the conditions really were exceptional, then the claim will most likely fail.


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