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Tips for Minimizing the Impact of Weather on Construction

Published October 15, 2018

In the construction industry, encountering setbacks and delays can prove to be costly. Not only are they financially draining at times, but they can also extend the project’s timeline substantially. Setbacks due to poor communication and overbooking are results of human error and are 100% preventable. However, there are delays that occur which are caused by factors outside of the contractor’s control. Adverse weather conditions being one of them.

With each new season comes a variety of weather patterns. Typically, the Spring brings rainy weather, followed by dry heat in the Summer, cooler temperatures in the Fall and snow and ice in the Winter. These conditions can be harmful to materials and machinery, cause potential safety hazards to workers, and interfere with project completion.

Although, the weather is uncontrollable and at times unpredictable, its damage and interference can be managed. The following are a few tips for minimizing the effects of harmful weather on construction projects.

Know your weather. Stay up-to-date with current weather patterns and reports. While working on a job site, be aware of your surroundings. Weather forecasts are not always accurate therefore, it is important to watch out for any ominous clouds and react accordingly to anything that looks suspicious.

Plan. Be prepared. Make sure you have plans in place for any severe weather that you or your team may encounter while working on a project. Clearly communicate any plans to all staff members and workers involved so these individuals are prepared and know what to do in case of an emergency.

Report unsafe working conditions. Create a system that makes it easy for employees to anonymously report any unsafe working conditions. Having this system in place will make it easy for supervisors to react accordingly and propose and implement a necessary solution.

Prioritize and properly schedule weather-independent tasks. If possible, identify tasks that do not require exposure to the elements, like those done off-site or indoors. Schedule the completion of these tasks for days where bad weather is expected.

Protect the site from damage. In the event of bad weather, move equipment inside to prevent damage. Any materials or equipment that cannot be moved should, at a minimum, be secured and covered.

Prevent heat-related illnesses. During the Summer months, the temperatures can reach an unbearable level. Make sure that workers are staying hydrated and using appropriate sun protection whenever possible. It is recommended to have water stations scatted throughout a job-site to allow easy access for workers.

Avoid electrical accidents. In the presence of rain or standing water, make sure that any and all electrical chords are free from exposure.

At times, when bad weather strikes, it may feel as though it is impossible to complete the smallest of tasks. But, with the proper planning and training, the effects of Mother Nature can be minimized.