What actually constitutes 'exceptionally adverse weather conditions'?

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Published on LexisPSL on 17/12/2015

The following Construction Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What actually constitutes 'exceptionally adverse weather conditions'?

What actually constitutes 'exceptionally adverse weather conditions'?

The standard form JCT 2011 contracts contain a number of events, called 'Relevant Events', that may entitle the contractor to an extension of time in which to complete the works (to avoid completing its works after the contractual completion date and becoming liable to pay the employer liquidated damages). See Practice Note: Extensions of time under construction contracts.

One of these Relevant Events is 'exceptionally adverse weather conditions', see for example clause 2.29.9 in the JCT Standard Building Contract With Quantities 2011 or clause 2.26.8 in the JCT Design and Build Contract 2011. FIDIC 1999 contracts also contain a similar provision in the event of delay for 'exceptionally adverse climatic conditions' (eg clause 8.4(c) in the Red Book). There is, however, no definition in either of these as to what will constitute exceptionally adverse weather—so what sort of weather conditions would qualify?

There is no easy answer as to what constitutes exceptionally adverse weather. In some circumstances it may be obvious, for example, a contractor whose works are delayed because the site of the works is affected by extreme flooding, such as those which have featured in the news in the UK in the last few years, would be likely to be entitled to an extension of time due to exceptionally adverse rainfall having prevented the works being completed on

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