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The weather is an important component of construction contracts

Certain patterns develop in California’s weather that people can reasonably predict. This is important when negotiating, drafting and executing construction contracts in order to incorporate contingencies involving the weather. However, while some predictability may be worked into the contract for a specific job, it may not be enough to protect a construction company from future litigation.

One of the most vital components of a construction contract is the completion date. The property owner and/or developer will want the project completed within a reasonable amount of time, and the contractor needs to provide a reasonable estimate, which will more than likely include some concessions for ordinary weather delays. Here in southern California, this may often involve rain delays, but if a contractor takes on jobs outside the area, snow could also be a consideration.

Most contractors work “normal” weather delays into their contracts. For instance, a day of rain may equal an extra day on the end of the contract. However, every so often there are unpredictable and violent weather occurrences that could delay a project for much longer than just a day. This issue needs to be addressed in the construction contract as well. The property owner and/or developer will most likely not agree to a monetary component to the delay, but needs to include an extension of time since many construction contracts penalize the company for not completing a job within the specified time.

As the weather seems to get more and more unpredictable these days, working contingencies into construction contracts for significant weather delays becomes even more important. This could add a level of complexity to negotiations since the other party will most likely want to limit delays as much as possible and may want to use penalties or some other monetary loss as a motivator to get the job done. Even so, the job must be completed safely and properly, which means making sure this issue receives the appropriate attention.