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Everything to Know about Wet Weather Risk

The meaning of Wet Weather, causes and how to mitigate Wet Weather risks in construction.

What is Wet Weather?

Wet Weather or sometimes captured under Inclement Weather in construction refers to any severe or extreme wet weather conditions that can negatively impact the construction process. This includes heavy rainfall, snowstorms, hurricanes and other wet weather phenomena that can hinder construction activities or endanger the safety of workers.

What does Wet Weather mean?

In the context of construction, 'Wet Weather' or sometimes captured under 'Inclement Weather' means weather conditions that are severely wet enough to disrupt construction schedules, damage construction materials, or require adjustments to project management practices. These conditions can lead to significant project delays, increased costs, and potential safety hazards.

Wet Weather Example

An example of inclement weather impacting construction is a sudden storm or torrential rain that halts all outdoor construction activities. The rain can delay projects, damage unprotected materials, and increase the risk of accidents on-site.

The History of Wet Weather

The construction industry has always contended with the challenge of weather, adapting project timelines and methods to local climate conditions. Over time, advancements in weather forecasting and project planning have allowed for better anticipation and mitigation of weather-related disruptions.

Causes of Wet Weather

Wet weather arises from a variety of atmospheric conditions:

  • Storms and Fronts: Systems that bring severe weather, including thunderstorms, hurricanes, and blizzards.
  • Seasons: Some parts of the world have seasonal high humidity, unstable atmosphere and a heat low/trough. These conditions are prime for showers and thunderstorms and 'wet seasons'.
  • Temperature Extremes: Very high or low temperatures that can affect worker safety and material integrity.
  • Precipitation: Rain, snow, sleet, and hail that can saturate sites, damage materials, and hinder operations.
Adverse weather can throw a serious wrench in construction plans. This can be especially troublesome in regions with a lot of snow such as Colorado, but these guys look pretty tough.

Likelihood of Wet Weather

The likelihood of Wet Weather depends largely on geographic location, season, and current climate patterns. An indoor construction project will not have this risk, however anything outdoors will almost certainly content with this Risk. In particular, construction projects in areas known for extreme weather conditions, like tropical coastlines or high-altitude regions, are particularly at risk.

Consequence / Impact of Wet Weather

The impact of inclement weather can range from minor delays to significant safety incidents or structural damage. Financial consequences include increased labor and material costs, while schedule impacts can lead to contractual penalties and reduced profit margins.

Wet Weather Clauses in Construction Contracts

Wet Weather clauses appear in Standard Form Contracts in Australian and North America, with contract authorities such as Standards Australia and AIA Contract Docs respectively.

AIA Contract Documents

AIA Contract Documents include specific provisions for 'Weather Delay' events and require the contractor to notify the architect and owner promptly of the occurrence. Worth noting, the stipulation is not if the weather impacted the work, but, if the weather was abnormal. In response to such events, the AIA typically allows an extension of time for performance but does not provide for an automatic right to additional payment.

Standards Australia

Standards Australia's construction contracts such as AS 4000 and AS 4902, include 'Inclement Weather' references as 'qualifying causes of delay' that are somewhat similar to those in the AIA documents. These clauses also provide a definition of 'qualifying causes of delay' events, which includes Inclement Weather that prevents the execution of the work. Either party is generally entitled to an extension of time, provided that they promptly notify the other party of the event.

Mitigations and Treatments for Wet Weather Risk

To effectively manage inclement weather risks, the following strategies can be employed:

  • Advanced Weather Forecasting: Utilize modern weather tracking and forecasting tools to anticipate disruptions.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Develop construction schedules with built-in flexibility to accommodate weather-related delays.
  • Protective Measures: Use covers, enclosures, and other protective measures to shield work sites and materials from adverse weather.
  • Safety Protocols: Implement strict safety protocols to ensure worker safety during adverse weather conditions.
  • Insurance: Secure comprehensive insurance coverage to mitigate financial losses due to weather-related damage or delays.

Risk Management and Reporting of Wet Weather

As we've seen above, there are alot of considerations when it comes to Risk Management. Implementing Risk Management and Reporting controls will make managing this risk easy, and ensure success of your Capital Project.

  1. Risk Management Plan: Download a free Risk Management Plan Template and put a Risk Management process in place.
  2. Risk Register: Download a manual Risk Register Template or use an automated Risk Register solution to track all risks, causes, consquences and mitigations.
  3. Reporting: Create automated Risk Reports, Project Status Reports or Dashboards for communicating with stakeholders. If you need a free Report Template, you can find some examples here.
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