News Item

Posted: 11th May
By: rlf

Construction project management – planning for bad weather

Good construction project management is essential for any development. In the wake of the UK’s wettest winter on record, and with experts predicting a rise in the number of extreme weather events as a result of global climate change, construction firms need to take a close look at how they manage the risks associated with bad weather.

As people start booking in their loft extensions and renovation projects for the summer months, it is important to build the expectation of bad weather into your planning, to keep projects moving and profitable.

Impact of bad weather

Recent events have shown just how severe an impact extreme weather can have on the construction industry. For example, heavy snowfall during winter 2010, saw construction output in Germany decline by a staggering 24%. Whilst in France, heavy rainfall in February 2012 forced many construction sites to suspend work, delaying the country’s economic recovery from recession.

Extreme weather conditions and fluctuating temperatures are becoming the norm all over Europe, and the UK is no exception. A recent study by the Building Research Establishment predicted a 6% increase in wind speeds over the coming years, and, as every site manager knows, crane downtime due to high winds can be extremely detrimental to productivity.

Planning for bad weather

A solid construction project plan should allow for unforeseen weather conditions and there should be measures in place to mitigate the effects.

Rain on construction sites can create difficult working conditions for operatives, who could potentially loosen their grip on tools and machinery, leading to accidents. Rain also creates slippery surfaces, which is also extremely hazardous. One solution is for site managers to install protective sheeting around scaffolding, which can also mitigate against wind.

In addition to a temporary roofing solution, make sure you have some polythene sheets on hand, to protect your construction materials from water damage. Straw-filled matting and polyurethane foam can also be used to protect materials from the effects of frost and snow in the winter.

It is worth keeping an eye on a specially-tailored construction weather forecasting service, such as this one offered by the Met Office, as it could provide invaluable advanced warning of bad weather to help you plan for delays, and reallocate your resources accordingly.