Why Do Weather Delays Cause a Big Issue in the Construction Industry?

Posted on April 13th, 2018 by Kajol Kaur

Snow on construction site

Credit to Urban Toronto

It can be tough to plan, organise, and manage a construction project; an added obstacle. Regular weather delays. Simple weather conditions, such as rain or snow, can have a significant impact on a project. In this article, I will be breaking down several of the weather delays all construction companies will encounter and why they can have a negative impact on the progress of a project.

Weather Hazards

Cold Weather

When the weather is cold, the main concern is a lack of normal cement hydration due to the mortar and grout not getting enough heat. Cold temperatures can slow down and even stop the process of cement hydration. This will reduce the bond’s strength.
A way to reduce the cold weather’s effect may be to increase the sand or lime content to create a stiffer mortar mixture. Lime will also allow it to lose moisture quickly.

Hot Weather

Hot weather has the opposite effect – it causes water to evaporate from the mortar. However, both climates will decrease the bond strength of the mortar. It will prematurely settle and not have enough moisture for the brick to hold onto. To reduce the impact of hot weather, I would recommend sprinkling water onto bricks before laying them to increase moisture.

Dry Weather

This can result in a large amount of dust which can be dangerous to construction sites. It can reduce visibility for those nearby and generate dirt which needs to be regularly maintained to avoid complications.

Wet Weather

Wet weather can pose a problem because a project cannot continue unless the structure is completely dry. If there has been heavy rain or snow, this could take several days or weeks.

Windy Weather

Extreme wind can be difficult to work in. It is important for employees to know which equipment can handle certain types of wind speeds. It is also important to note that with height, wind speed will increase so workers must be careful when using equipment like cranes. I would recommend using an anemometer or wind speed indicator during the job to stay informed.

Tips for minimising the weather’s impact

There are numerous ways to minimise the impact of the weather on a construction project and the safety of employees.
Watch the weather – keep up-to-date with weather reports and always plan accordingly. Pay attention to your surroundings while working as the weather can always change and forecasts are not 100% accurate.
Have an action plan – be prepared for extreme weather conditions and communicate with employees so they know how to react ahead of time.
Create a system – have a system which makes it easy for employees to report unsafe conditions.
Prepare for damage – protect your site by moving equipment indoors and covering and securing equipment that cannot be moved.
Keep equipment clean – weather can bring about mess – dust and mud. Make sure you keep site equipment clean to prevent damage.

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