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How Weather Can Affect a Construction Project

A delay in construction can be frustrating and costly. The longer it takes to complete the project, the more time it’ll be before the next one can get started. Plus, some delays can result in additional purchases not originally accounted for, such as added material or equipment. Setting back the completion date isn’t something most contractors want to do, but sometimes they are inevitable. However, it is possible to plan for delays so they won’t be as detrimental to the project, or its timeline.

Be Your Own Contractor Training explained delays can come in a wide variety of forms. Setbacks due to poor communication, staying timely in all project deadlines and overbooking can all be prevented by the people involved with the project. However, some delays are caused by factors outside of a contractor’s control. For instance, weather conditions can affect a construction timeline.

Each season brings different weather patterns. Many contractors begin to see an uptick in business beginning in the spring. Depending on the location, this season can bring rainy weather, followed by the dry heat of summer. Fall and winter bring cooler temperatures, snow and ice. Each of these can be harmful to material and machinery, and can cause potential safety hazards to workers on site.

Spring Showers
Any sort of outdoor work is made more difficult by the presence of rain. Interface, the technical publication of RCI, Inc., an association of professional architects, consultants and engineers, explained that a frequent cause for contractors to request additional time or money to allocate to a project is due to rainy or wet conditions. Rain can cause myriad problems for those working on construction. Associated Training and Consultancy explained that mud can not only be a nuisance, but also a safety hazard for anyone driving off a muddy site, or to drivers who share a road with an excessively muddy vehicle. Interface explained this can be avoided by using gravel or rock as a base, and by properly grading the land ahead of time.

Other materials can be damaged by moisture. Paint typically has a limit to how much moisture it can be exposed to before its adhesiveness, color and drying time are affected. It’s important to take note of this limit and compare it to the weather conditions of the day. Many of the materials that make up the interior of a building, such as carpeting, drywall, wood and insulation, should not be overexposed to moisture. This can cause mold, which can lead to a potentially unsafe environment that could be costly to fix. Materials and equipment can also be affected by rain. Brick is particularly susceptible to moisture and too much of it can have negative results. Moisture present in the brick while building can result in condensation collecting on the interior walls later on. Additionally, bricks can swell when they absorb too much water. This can cause damage to the structure being built.

Thunderstorms can cause even more damage to a construction site. These come with high winds that can disorganize a job site at best, and destroy materials at worst. Hail that comes along with thunderstorms creates another major concern, as it has been known to dent or break materials such as sheet metal or glass.

Dog Days of Summer
While spring’s showers might dry up once the summer months come around, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any more risks for the construction site. Hot and dry weather brings its own set of issues. Extreme heat can cause health problems to workers, and if they decide to seek relief in the form of removing safety provisions like hard hats or safety glasses, they could be putting themselves at risk for injury. Associated Training and Consultancy also pointed out that sunstroke and dehydration could also affect a person’s judgment and reaction time.

Heat can also affect materials like concrete, paint and bricks. According to the American Concrete Institute, intense heat can affect the strength of concrete and require additional water. Contractors working with concrete can find regulations in ACI’s Manual of Concrete Practice. Paint applied in the heat can become cracked, wrinkled, blistered or otherwise unattractive and ineffective. Extreme heat can also cause discoloration in the paint. Bricks can become too dry in hot weather. This will decrease a brick’s ability to adhere to the mortar paste and thus create weak masonry work.

Dry heat also brings about dust and airborne dirt, which can enter equipment through filters and cause premature wearing of the parts.

Autumn and Winter
Cold weather can negatively impact construction as well. The water and solvents in paint can freeze, which slows down the curing process. All equipment needs to be winterized by using lubricants designed to withstand icy temperatures. Concrete and bricks can both become weakened when ice crystals form.

Equipment Finance Advisor explained mortar and grout can be most affected by cold weather. This is because when they become too cold, they cannot properly absorb moisture. This will make them weaker and less resistant to water in the future.

How Mobile Mini Can Help
Cold weather affects workers as well. They will have to wear additional layers during their time working outdoors. Interface pointed out that these layers restrict movement and the ability to handle items carefully. Muscles and joints are also less flexible when cold, which could put workers at greater risk for injury.

Inclement weather can’t be avoided or prevented. However, in most cases, it can be predicted with fairly good accuracy. If you know your site could be at risk of any of these adverse weather conditions, take precautions to protect your equipment, materials, site and workers. Steel storage containers can protect supplies and equipment from rain and excessive sun. Mobile Mini’s storage solutions for construction provide a weather resistant space to store anything that needs to be kept safe and protected.

Mobile Mini also provides mobile offices. These can be used as a place for contractors to store their important information related to the site. Or, they can be used as a refuge for employees hoping to escape either the hot sun or cold temperatures.