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This Is How Weather Can Affect a Construction Project

Published Categorized as Construction
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For those in the construction industry, there is simply no escaping the weather and natural elements. No matter where the construction project is located, the crew will be exposed to the daily weather patterns of that region. Unfortunately, weather can easily impact the schedule and safety of a new construction project. 

Weather can affect a construction project by reducing visibility, damaging equipment, destabilizing the worksite, and undoing previously completed work. Because of these, weather can easily delay the construction schedule and pose safety risks to the building and its workers.

In the rest of this article, we’ll look at what happens to a construction project when different weather strikes. We’ll also discuss what happens in extreme temperatures, surprise storms, or a region experiencing a drought. Also, we’ll share some tips on preparing for the natural elements when planning a project.

Extreme Temperatures Can Delay Construction

If a construction project is being planned in an area that may experience extreme temperatures, the firm will have to plan carefully to avoid accidents and delays. And if the temperature becomes extremely hot or severely cold, this can negatively impact both the workers and the equipment.  In extremely cold temperatures, machinery may have a difficult time starting or may require more time to warm up properly before use. With cold temperatures, it’s possible to experience snow or ice. These elements can get in the way of the construction or pose hazards to the crew. If the ground is iced over, for example, the team will have to find a way to break up the ice before continuing to work safely. In high temperatures, many things on a construction site are put at risk. Sealants may not function and dry as they’re supposed to. Machinery may overheat and need additional time to cool down. The same is true for workers as well, as they may require more rest time when working in extreme heat. If they overextend themselves on particularly hot days, they can easily get dizzy and exhausted from . It’s also possible that workers may be tempted to remove some of their protective clothing when working in scorching conditions. For example, if workers are sweating profusely under their hard hats, they may be tempted to remove them in order to cool down. This goes for any type of protective equipment that may feel especially hot to the person wearing it. However, if the workers aren’t properly protected, the construction site can become a dangerous place. Additionally, construction sites may be home to some hazardous materials. If these types of materials are necessary for a particular project, extreme temperatures can make storing them dangerous. Therefore, it’s important that the firm carefully considers how they can store these materials safely.

Unexpected Storms Can Cause Flooding or Accidents

Depending on the construction site’s location, unexpected storms can wreak havoc on the project’s schedule and planning. Storms bring in many different elements, like heavy rain, strong winds, thunder, and lightning. Unexpected storms pose a particular threat to what’s stored high up in construction sites. For example, tall cranes can be an attractive conductor for a lightning strike or pose a danger if caught by strong, high-speed winds. Storms can do plenty of danger to a site without the workers being present. Torrential downpours can turn the firm ground to mud and even cause flooding on site. Strong winds may break loose pieces of the project that have not been fully secured or blow away materials that were not stored properly. These effects can cause delays to the schedule and even damage the site in progress. So, if there are workers on-site when a storm hits, the risks increase even more.

Dry Weather Can Damage Equipment or Lead to Drought

While heavy rains and storms can damage a construction site and be dangerous to the workers, isn’t the solution. If an area is experiencing a particularly dry spell, the amount of dust in the area will be high and can cause problems on the site. Dust can cause low visibility for workers and can enter the equipment causing clogs and other performance issues.  If an area is in a serious drought, this can pose other problems for the site. It may not be possible to get the amount of water required to complete certain tasks. If the firm is counting on the availability of certain natural resources but cannot receive them, this can cause serious delays to the project. They may try to find alternate ways to complete the project without the required natural resources, possibly posing more threats to the workers’ health.

Tips in Dealing With Local Weather Patterns

No matter where your site is located, you’ll likely be exposed to some of the natural elements during your construction phase. With climate change making the weather even more unpredictable, you must have a plan in place for when extreme weather strikes. As a firm, you must be keeping an eye on this, and you should be able to communicate quickly and effectively with your on-site team in emergencies. Even if it hasn’t been necessary in the past, the changing global climate is bringing new weather patterns that can make the construction business even more unpredictable, so be sure to have a solid plan in place for unexpected natural conditions. Even if your construction firm has been in business for decades, you need to understand how the climate is changing in your area and what you can do to protect your equipment, hazardous materials, and employees. Ultimately, being able to anticipate the possible delays due to the weather can greatly help.

Final Thoughts

There’s no escaping the natural elements, especially if you’re embarking on a new construction project. However, with diligent planning and the ability to respond to an emergency safely and efficiently, the weather shouldn’t get in the way of a completed construction project. By taking into account how weather can cause damages and delays, you and your team will be better equipped to take on your project.

Sources

By Giovanni Valle

Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.

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