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7 tips for better deicing contract language

  • Darryl Beckman
- Posted: September 12, 2011
As you prepare contracts for the upcoming season (this really should already be under way), consider these contractual recommendations for deicing services:

There must be a clear understanding of when your company must visit the premises. Contractual language frequently requires the contractor to determine the necessity of performing services and visit the premises whenever snow or freezing weather occurs.

There should be an identification of when deicing services are to begin. Language frequently reflects deicing services are to begin whenever freezing rain and icing conditions become prevalent (this must be defined).

A discussion of when deicing services are to be completed is necessary. If there is a set opening time for a business, the contract usually requires a cleared, slip-free environment a minimum of 30 minutes before opening.

The necessity of achieving a slip-free environment is often found in contracts. I usually come across contractual language discussing the need for the contractor to apply deicing materials to achieve a bare pavement or a slip-free environment. Is your client willing to pay for that bare-pavement service? What are their true expectations. It’s up to you, as the expert, to find out.

The exact areas requiring services should be identified. Although it seems obvious, the contract should note sidewalks, entry drives, parking areas and drive aisles are to be cleared. Loading dock areas and other areas related to the specific job should be referenced.

I suggest the contract contain language discussing the provision of labor and equipment, something simply reflecting that the contractor will provide all equipment, labor and materials should suffice.

It is important that the contract reflect snow will be pushed away from buildings and piled where melting runoff will not create refreeze conditions.

Contract ambiguity can prove costly in the event of a lawsuit. Do not sign a contract without first examining it and making sure  provisions within clearly spell out your responsibilities.
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