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PLAN FOR SEASONAL CONSTRUCTION RISKS

Updated: 7 days ago


aerial view of a construction of a new building

With your expertise, licensure, and top-notch crew, you’ve got all it takes to get the job done, right? Those things are vital, but there’s another major factor that’s totally out of your control: the weather. Climate conditions in your area will inevitably dictate a good part of many projects, from site safety to a building’s durability and longevity. Factoring in variables at the planning stage ensures that you can still take care of business should nature do her worst. What to Know About Seasonal Risk Factors Beyond controlling the timing of a project, cold spells, heat waves, and extended periods of rain can take a major toll on safety and efficiency. Though you might typically rely on past experience to know what each season will bring, more often than not Mother Nature lets us know that we can only know so much. Fluke storms and unpredictable weather are more commonplace than ever and it’s vital to have a contingency plan in place to get through the extremes. Contractors working from high elevations to seaside communities know that seasonal temperature and precipitation norms can drastically affect fundamental choices, like the materials that are best suited to your project. Cost is also part of the puzzle for both you and your clients. For these and so many reasons it’s key that contractors understand their location and take time to factor in seasonal risks. How Seasonal Changes Affect Construction Seasonal shifts can be summarized as affecting five main areas: equipment, personnel, materials, planning, and application. Things really begin with the planning stage––setting aside time to consider every potential issue will always pay off, long-term. It also gives contractors a bird’s eye understanding of the project and the site. Once the planning team has an idea of what to expect going into each season, they can then integrate risk factors into the overall gameplan. Fall and Winter Risks Site Safety: Increased precipitation and cooler temperatures can spell danger on construction sites, opening up risks due to wet or icy surfaces. This also brings major trouble where electricity is concerned since there are more opportunities for water and power sources to interact. Warmer, layered clothing often means that workers’ range of motion is naturally limited. Their resulting decrease in mobility could lead to delayed reactions and unfortunate accidents. Materials: Each and every material used on a construction site can be susceptible to environmental hazards and risks. Metals, wood, adhesives, bricks, and other materials are all subject to corrosion, mold, or other risks resulting from excessive exposure to moisture in the colder months. The freeze-thaw cycle is especially damaging and can quickly break down unprotected components. Frequent thunderstorms can bring destructive winds and hail that can make quick work of glass and other materials. And excessive cold spells can wreak havoc on concrete, cement, paints, and glue. Work to anticipate what you’ll be up against before you ever begin building. Spring and Summer Risks Site Safety: Risk factors are naturally higher in the colder seasons, but the warmer months have their own set of perils. You’re still likely to face elevated rain levels and an occasional cold snap in spring, both of which bring excessive moisture back into the picture as a risk factor. Rising temperatures in summer can take a toll on workers who may be prone to wear less protective gear because of overheating concerns. Heat stroke or fatigue––along with dehydration and a host of other heat- and sun-related conditions––can also lead workers to be less attentive, less careful, and even drowsy. Materials: As temperatures warm, heavy spells of rain can be even more detrimental as far as mold growth is concerned. And as heat ramps up heading into summer, you could see major alterations in how materials behave. Expansion dimensions can shift dramatically causing misaligned joins. Concrete could require far more water to set correctly, and any oversight here can lead to a compromised end product that isn’t as safe as it should be. Bricks can become brittle and paint often cracks or discolors. How to Handle Seasonal Risks The plethora of issues that accompany seasonal shifts in temperature and precipitation require in-depth knowledge of the materials being used. Research into protection methods that utilize oils and other substances to ward off moisture could also be viable options. Application needs to be on-point and if ideal conditions aren’t possible, it’s up to you–the expert–to find a way around what the weather throws at you. Even more important is how structural components like concrete and cement are handled amid wild fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels. Going forward, it’s perfectly plausible that we’ll see more extreme shifts in seasonal weather risks. That seems to be the path we’re on, so it’s up to each and every contractor to be aware of the risks that they and their team face. Then it comes down to implementing strategies and protocol to ensure safety and efficiency, come what may. Industry-wide, improved materials and updated practices are one key way to ensure a successful, responsive future. Knowing the risks going into each season will set you up for the best outcome in the long run, both for your customers and for your business’s reputation and bottom line. We know that folks have been building in hot and cold climates for centuries past and in the present––with modern technologies this is not an insurmountable task. But as past civilizations can also teach us, adaptability and change are vital. Protect Your Construction Business with Modern, Specialized Coverage Options Selecting materials that can hold up to weather-related risk factors, using the right application techniques, and ensuring that workers are both adequately protected from the weather while also remaining alert to potential risks––these are the tasks you’re up against this and every season. And just as in all areas of business, contractors shouldn’t be operating on autopilot here. The same goes for insurance coverage. At Contractors by Zinc we know that you’re working hard every day to keep your business moving forward. That’s why, as you’re adapting and modernizing, we’re here working just as hard to protect those investments. Our dedicated team of insurance experts knows the industry and understands what you’re up against. So keep your eyes focused on the future knowing that should bad ever become worst-case, we’re always here to help, with coverage for every risk you face. Get in touch today to learn more.




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This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.

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