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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis
SD1997-07


Title: Development of Working Day Weather Charts for Transportation Construction in South Dakota
Project Researcher: Scott Kenner, SDSM&T
Project Manager: Hal Rumpca
Research Period: 5/1/1997 - 5/30/1998
Status:
Cost: $40,000.00

Problem Statement: Seasonal and daily weather events impact grading, surfacing, and structure construction projects in various ways across the different climatological regions of the State. Depending upon the type of construction project, its location, and stage of completion, moisture and temperature variations may lead to construction delays and subsequent requests for contract time extensions. For calendar-day and completion-date contracts, contractors may dispute what the Department considers to be a reasonable number of weather related non-working days during the contracting period.

Research needs to be performed to determine the average number of construction working days that can be expected for grading, surfacing, and structure projects in the various climatological regions of the State. Working-day weather charts based on significant geographical and climatological factors, seasons, and construction impacts need to be developed so the information can be used in developing and administering contracts. The information will help to reduce the magnitude and number of contractor disputes, claims, time extension requests, and costs due to weather delays.



Findings: The contractor for the research project was Dr. Scott Kenner and staff from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The study was designed to address the impacts of weather on grading, surfacing, and structure projects across the various climate regions of South Dakota. Seasonal and daily weather events impact grading, surfacing and structure construction projects in various ways across the different climate regions of the state. When weather conditions prevent timely completion of major sequential components of a construction project, it often requires additional construction time leading to delays and subsequent requests for contract time extensions. Past experience has shown that significant time and effort are spent settling disputes between what the contractor and the Department (SDDOT) consider to be a reasonable number of weather related non-working days during the contracting period. In addition, SDDOT plans to implement innovative contracting methods designed to reduce the time of highway construction projects. Before the Department and contractors could fully implement innovative contracting procedures such as incentive-disincentive contracts, A+B bidding, and lane rental, they needed guidance on the number of construction working days available in the different climate regions of South Dakota for grading, surfacing, and structural projects. The overall goals of this project were: 1) reduce contractors' risks related to bidding innovative contracting, calendar-day, working-day, and completion-date projects; 2) reduce the magnitude and number of disputes, claims, time extension requests and costs due to weather delays; and 3) provide the Department of Transportation with tools that would enable a more accurate determination of contract completion requirements. This study produced various charts defining the expected adverse weather days and expected working days for six climatic zones and two construction type categories. Procedures for using this information to calculate contract time and determine time extensions for adverse weather were presented.

Research Objectives:
1  Develop regional classification maps based on significant geographical factors and climatological zones that can be used to determine weather related construction working days.
2  Develop criteria and guidelines to establish the number of monthly construction working days available for grading, surfacing, and structure construction projects in South Dakota.
3  Develop working-day weather charts that can be used for grading, surfacing, and structure projects in the various regions of South Dakota.
4  Recommend how best to use working-day weather charts for the contract administration of projects with working-day, calendar-day, or completion-date contracts.

Research Tasks:
1  Meet with the project’s technical panel to review the project scope and work plan.
2  Review and summarize literature pertinent to working-day weather charts and the innovative contracting procedures which utilize them.
3  Research and compile a summary of other agencies (Corps of Engineers, BIA, and SHA’s) that use working-day weather charts, identify how the data is compiled and used in calendar-day or other types of contracts, and provide documentation on contractua
4  Interview a representative sample of construction contractors and SDDOT engineers to assess the impacts of weather conditions on construction activities and determine temperature and precipitation ranges appropriate for grading, surfacing, and struct
5  Validate the ranges established in Task 4 by comparing past SDDOT transportation construction project records to observed weather data (1990-96 with emphasis on 1994-96).
6  Based on the information obtained in Research Tasks 4 and 5, and a minimum of thirty years of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) daily climatic data, develop regional maps that identify monthly temperature and precipitation ranges
7  Using the data established in Research Tasks 3, 4, 5, & 6, develop and recommend criteria and guidelines for preparing and using working-day weather charts.
8  Prepare regional working-day weather charts and tables that can be used in SDDOT contracting documents for grading, surfacing, and structure projects.
9  Document how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working-day weather charts, which have been utilized for construction activities at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, compare with the working-day weather charts developed in Task 8.
10  Provide sample contract clauses which utilize the working-day weather charts and recommend changes in SDDOT policies and procedures necessary to effectively use the weather data.
11  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the literature review, interviews, research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
12  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board and the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota (AGC) at the conclusion of the project.

Documents Available:
SD1997_07_final_report.pdf

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