Weather conditions can often have negative effects on a construction project, particularly potentially delaying the intended completion date. Fortney & Weygandt, Inc. has projects spread across the entire nation and, as a result, we must monitor weather conditions from coast-to-coast. So when I speak to business associates in the Midwest and they remark that the weather has been great and that we must be rolling along quite easily, I have to educate them that we may be good in this part of the country, but we have issues elsewhere. Adverse weather conditions can easily cause delays which, in turn, affect a project’s completion schedule.
Cold weather conditions can negatively impact construction. Very cold temperatures create productivity issues by hampering the ability of workers to function effectively, and may even present dangers, such as frostbite. This may require an increased number of warming breaks. Snow and ice require that time must be taken to clear both from the immediate work area as much as possible to avoid hazards of slipping or falling. Cold weather can even affect the building material being used. Concrete mixtures, for instance, do not set below a certain temperature. Motorized equipment can also be negatively impacted by severe cold.
To minimize weather-related delays, care must be taken in the scheduling of projects that will be underway during cold weather months to ensure foundations are installed before the ground freezes and that structures are enclosed so the space can be adequately heated. It is crucial in the scheduling process to make allowance for potential delays due to inclement weather. Wet weather is another potential schedule interrupter. Wet weather can make for uncomfortable working conditions as well as potential safety issues, such as muddy and slippery conditions or even lightening hazards in the case of storms. Heavy rains can cause damage, such as collapsed excavations and damage to building finishes. Work may need to be delayed while excess water is pumped out of the work site. Heavy rain may cause building material to be saturated, delaying work until the material is able to dry out. Brick, for instance, can be particularly susceptible to moisture because moisture present in the brick while building can result in condensation collecting on the interior walls later on.
Adverse weather circumstances experienced last year caused Fortney & Weygandt construction teams plenty of hardship. While we were building a retail pharmacy in Louisville, Kentucky, the city was under what seemed like a never-ending rain cloud even as Northern Ohio was enduring something of a drought. There were quite a few days when rainfalls in excess of 1½ inches fell in just a few hours. Our construction team slogged through it all and completed the project.
We have worked through hurricanes before, but now we can add remnants of an Asian typhoon to the list. While building another retail pharmacy in Federal Way, Washington, our crew endured days of extremely heavy rain while trying to install the building’s roof. Luckily, the project manager and field superintendent were able to adjust the schedule so we were not dramatically affected.
Supposedly, it never rains in Dallas. But we found out that is wrong! While building a hotel in Plano, Texas last spring, we experienced weeks of heavy rain. There was so much rain that when it finally stopped, the concrete plants were so far behind that concrete was not available for two weeks after an order was placed. In early November, the same jobsite had a six-inch rainfall in one day. So much for not worrying about the weather in Texas!
Like other construction companies, Fortney & Weygandt manages challenges on a day-to-day basis. For weather-related delays we can usually prevent—or at least mitigate—many of the delays by understanding the national weather patterns. By allowing for these expected weather disruptions during our upfront scheduling process, we can mitigate as many potential problems as possible, ensuring a smooth construction process.