Climate effects are starting to make themselves known. With fires, floods and extreme weather set to increase in frequency, the impacts on the construction industry are going to be monumental. Progress on the construction site can be hampered by inclement weather, but the major concern for construction managers should be safety.
The incidences of extreme weather are on the rise. We saw 520 natural disasters between 1989 and 2018 but, in 2019 alone, there were 820—a rise of 58%. Weather can cause delays and injuries on jobsites or jeopardize the future of projects. It can even create problems down the line with materials that have become too wet or too dry during construction.
It can be difficult for construction companies to factor in delays so they are accurately able to quote time and budget. Rising insurance costs are also a factor.
There are ways in which contractors can help mitigate the consequences of climate change.
- Always plan for the worst-case scenario. When creating budgets and timelines, account for delays from weather and even natural disasters.
- Have in place emergency plans for every natural disaster. Your crew should know exactly what to do when bad weather rolls in, to make the jobsite safer for themselves and others. Safety should always be your number one priority. OSHA requires that you have emergency plans in writing that are regularly updated and communicated to your workers.
- Your OSHA emergency plan should include assigned responsibilities so every crew member knows exactly what they have to do and how to do it. Your crew need to be involved in the creation of this plan as they have the best information and ideas on what would make your jobsites safe.
- Test your emergency plan before you need it. That way you can see what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes.
- Re-examine the plan with your crew at every new jobsite. Each job and jobsite will have unique features that could require changes to your emergency plan.