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.