Apart from discussions concerning spending, conversations with clients concerning project timing are always high on the list. More specifically, when we get closer to the projected finish date, the age old question of whether things are going to finish on time or not!
In any building project they are multiple contractors involved involving lots of coordination, the project scope often alters due to variations (either unforeseen or client driven amendments/ additions), and of course delays due to the weather! As you can see many factors indeed that can and will affect the original project program on any building project.
Most building contracts have mechanisms within them that govern the ‘agreed’ completion date at the start of the project, and many make provision for the client/ architect to include a certain amount of time in the overall project program for inclement weather, before the builder can make a claim for delays. However, what is often misunderstood is the effect of delays or scope changes on the builders planned contractor/ trades coordination over the course of the job.
Most contractors will be doing more than one project at a time and will have committed a certain amount of time to each of those projects for a particular time frame. What can happen if a project is delayed due to weather or scope creep is the potential lack of availability of a contractor to complete their necessary component because they have committed time elsewhere. They may have planned to be on your job for April/ May for instance, but weather delays have meant they are needed in May/ June, but…they are on another project for June as part of a previous commitments.
Most builders realise this occurrence and either have a backup trade organised, or more realistically build reasonable contingency into their project program to try and accommodate for this possibility. However, sometimes delays are inevitable.
By example, on our Willoughby project we have lost 40 odd working days due to inclement weather to date, but had only allowed 15 working days in the original program. For the same time period however in the preceeding year where we were building on another project, we had lost no time at all. We can’t control the weather after all.
In summary, your building contract should make some reference to loss of time due to wet weather that is negotiated with the builder that will not affect your overall program. Your architect will also reasonably assess any claim for delay and ensure that it is legitimate, and importantly a delay that affects the critical path of the project. But remember, if it is unseasonably wet, or you add significant scope it is a certainty that the project will go longer than originally planned. This does not mean it is ‘late’, it just means that it took longer than could reasonably be determined at the time of signing a contract.
Last piece of advice. We recommend you always allow some contingency for potential cost increases whenever you consider a build project due to scope creep, unforsessen circumstances etc. You should also allow some contingency (as best you can, in the timeframe). You may never need it, but if you a renting while you renovate or rebuild, best to seek a lease that is a few months longer than your projected build time just in case!
Image this week of concrete cladding starting to be erected. Finishing trades commencing now. Enjoy your weekend.