How to use your Shift Record to substantiate weather-related events

June 29, 2024
 Learn how meticulous Shift Records & proactive strategies can help you navigate weather disruptions, delays, and costs.

The construction industry thrives on meticulous planning and execution. But even the most well-laid plans can be disrupted by a force as powerful as Mother Nature. From torrential downpours to scorching heat waves, weather events can wreak havoc on project schedules, worker safety, and installation quality.

This is where a seemingly simple document - your Shift Record - becomes a powerful ally. 

By meticulously documenting weather conditions alongside daily activities, you can build a strong understanding of weather-related delays, additional costs, or safety concerns.

How do different contracts define weather?

A well-maintained Shift Record is a powerful tool, but it's only half the equation. The other crucial element is understanding how your specific construction contract defines "adverse weather" and its impact on the project. Different standard contracts have varying approaches, and a detailed Shift Record can significantly strengthen your case under each:

JCT Contracts: 

JCT contracts often use the term "exceptionally adverse weather conditions."
However, the lack of a clear definition for "exceptionally adverse" can lead to disputes.
Imagine a scenario where heavy rain delays your project. Without a clear definition, claims for an extension might be met with scepticism.
In such cases, a Shift Record meticulously detailing not just the rain's occurrence but also its severity (e.g., sustained heavy downpour or flash flooding) and the specific impact on work activities (e.g., halting concrete pouring or making crane operations unsafe) becomes crucial evidence to support a claim under this clause.
The more detailed and objective your Shift Record is regarding the weather event, the stronger your position becomes.
View JCT Weather Guide

NEC Contracts: 

Here, the approach is more objective, offering greater clarity. NEC contracts define "adverse weather" statistically. An event needs to be statistically less frequent than once every ten years within a calendar month to qualify.
This means that if you encounter a heavy snowstorm that disrupts your project, you'd need to find weather data to prove its rarity in the specific location and timeframe. However, your Shift Record should go beyond just establishing rarity. Including specific details like temperature ranges, snowfall amounts (e.g., exceeding historical averages for the month), and wind speeds that potentially hindered construction activities further strengthens your case for extensions under the contract. By documenting the measurable aspects of the weather event, your Shift Record complements the statistical definition used in NEC contracts.
View NEC Weather Guide

FIDIC Contracts: 

These widely used international contracts often employ a two-tiered system, offering a more nuanced approach to weather events.
"Force Majeure" events, like extreme weather occurrences that are unforeseeable and unavoidable (e.g., a devastating hurricane), might entitle the contractor to extensions or additional costs.
However, some FIDIC contracts also have a separate clause for "adverse weather conditions" that may have less stringent requirements for compensation. For instance, a prolonged period of above-average temperatures might not qualify as "Force Majeure" but could still disrupt work on a temperature-sensitive project (e.g., asphalt paving). Here, a comprehensive Shift Record documenting the weather event (e.g., daily high temperatures exceeding historical averages for the month) becomes essential for claims under either clause.
Depending on the specific wording of your FIDIC contract, a detailed Shift Record can help you navigate the distinction between "Force Majeure" and "adverse weather conditions," potentially leading to extensions or additional cost recovery.
View FIDIC Weather Guide

How to substantiate the effect of a weather event

Understanding contract specifics and maintaining a detailed Shift Record are crucial. But how can you further strengthen your position when dealing with weather-related issues?

Here are some proactive strategies for contractors:

  • Monitor weather and document preventative actions: Encourage construction teams to closely monitor weather forecasts throughout the project. This allows for proactive planning and adjustments to the schedule if severe weather is predicted. Additionally, the Shift Record should meticulously document not just the occurrence of weather events but also any preventative measures taken (e.g., covering exposed materials, delaying specific tasks).
  • Standardisation and clear notes: To ensure consistency and clarity in weather recording, consider establishing a standardised approach. This could involve using specific terminology for weather conditions (e.g., light rain, heavy snowfall) and encouraging clear and concise notes from shift leaders detailing the impact on work activities.
  • External Verification: Seek external verification of the weather event, if possible. This could involve including data from official weather stations, news reports of the event, or independent weather monitoring services. Having external verification adds weight to your claims and strengthens the objectivity of your Shift Record.
  • Impact on Productivity: Where possible, quantify the impact of the weather event on productivity. This could involve noting delays in specific tasks, reduced team efficiency, or additional resources required due to the weather. Documenting the tangible impact on the project helps demonstrate the true cost of the weather event.
  • Digital Tools and accessibility: Explore the use of digital Shift Records. These tools can streamline data recording, improve accessibility for all project stakeholders, and even integrate with weather forecasting apps to automatically capture relevant data.
Remember: Consistency is key!
The more consistent and detailed your weather recording practices are throughout the project, the more credible your Shift Record becomes as evidence. By implementing these proactive strategies, you can build a strong case for weather-related delays or additional costs, ensuring a smoother project flow even when faced with the challenges of unpredictable weather.

Weathering the storm with confidence

The construction industry thrives on meticulous planning, but even the best plans can be disrupted by the unpredictable forces of nature.  However, by taking a proactive approach, you can significantly mitigate the impact of weather events on your project.

Here's a quick recap:

  • Maintain a Detailed Shift Record: Document weather conditions alongside daily activities, including their severity, duration, and impact on work.
  • Understand Your Contract: Familiarise yourself with the specific wording regarding "adverse weather" and its implications within your construction contract.
  • Implement Proactive Strategies: Monitor weather forecasts, take preventative measures, and utilise clear and consistent weather recording practices in your Shift Record.

By following these steps, you can transform your Shift Record into a powerful tool.  It becomes not just a daily log, but a documented record that strengthens your position when negotiating weather-related delays, additional costs, or safety concerns.   Remember, a well-maintained Shift Record, coupled with a clear understanding of your contract, equips you to weather the storm with confidence and ensure a successful project outcome.

Make this easier with Gather

Want to streamline weather recording and ensure consistent, automatic capture of weather data within your Shift Records?  Consider exploring innovative solutions like Gather. 

Gather is a Record Management System specifically designed to simplify construction workflows, offering features that can significantly benefit your project:

  1. Automatic Weather Data Capture: Integrate weather forecasting services directly into your Shift Records, automatically capturing relevant weather data to save time and ensure accuracy.
  2. Streamlined Data Recording: Move away from paper logs and embrace a user-friendly digital platform for faster and more efficient data recording by your construction teams.
  3. Enhanced Accessibility for All Stakeholders: Improve project transparency and accessibility by providing a central platform where all project stakeholders can access weather data and Shift Records information.

By incorporating these elements, Gather can empower your construction projects to weather any storm with confidence.  

Ready to explore how Gather can streamline your workflow?

How to use your Shift Record to substantiate weather-related events

Will Doyle


I am an experienced RICS chartered Quantity Surveyor​ with first-hand experience of how the consistent capture and analysis of data can transform global project delivery.

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