We have entered a new reality as our risk of extreme weather events has risen substantially in recent decades. In 2020, there were 22 weather disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each in the United States—a new annual record of billion-dollar events. The impact of such events is astounding. With the construction industry being one of the most susceptible industries to weather, this trend is alarming.

map of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters

Source: NOAA

Construction is highly dependant on weather. If you are a project planner in the industry, you may be noticing more erratic and unpredictable weather, making it difficult to prepare for. Extreme weather can easily derail project timelines, endanger workers, and increase costs significantly. The reality is when construction firms are unable to predict weather patterns, it puts their project and their business at risk. An article by CMiC global highlighted 4 ways climate change and extreme weather are impacting the construction industry:

  1. Labor Shortage: in areas where a shortage of skilled labor is present, extreme weather events can widen the gap between supply and demand even further. For example,  after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, 91% of contractors were worried about finding skilled construction workers as demand skyrocketed due to widespread damage to businesses and homes. While an event like Harvey may offer an economic boost to the industry, it is moot if you can’t find the workers to do the work.
  2. Bizarre Weather: In the face of climate change, weather patterns are becoming more erratic. Events like prolonged droughts, explosive wildfires, stronger hurricanes, and more frequent downpours can all be linked to climate change. “Feast or famine” patterns are becoming the norm.
  3. Damage to Equipment: There are many ways weather can impact construction equipment. Severe storms can damage construction sites and equipment. Dry weather can increase dust, jamming and clogging machinery. Extreme heat not only poses a threat for workers but can reduce the efficacy of materials such as sealants. While many firms have protocols in place, they are based on the weather patterns and client the firms are accustomed to working in. Going off of the “norm” is becoming increasingly riskier as climate change is shifting and morphing weather patterns.
  4. Materials Scarcity: Extreme weather drives up demand for materials significantly and it’s not unusual to experience a lack of raw materials to proceed with construction projects. Additionally, a single significant weather event, such as a hurricane, can have a ripple effect on the availability of certain materials across the country, not just in the area impact, exacerbating the shortage and driving up costs. Furthermore, events like a severe drought could result in water restrictions, putting construction workers at risk.

planning for construction weather

We understand the importance of construction weather forecasting. Our client, Wanzek Construction, is no stranger to the impact of adverse weather. As a leader in a diverse range of construction services, it became clear that it was time for them to take a proactive stance when it came to weather in order to meet their high standards. Staying on top of disruptive weather is critical to reducing project delays and mitigating productivity loss. After dealing with the direct consequences of unanticipated, unplanned disruptive weather, Wanzek recognized the need to find a credible, reliable source for weather information that fit their needs. Wanzek struggled to find accurate forecasts for wind speeds and inclement weather for their specific project sites. They quickly realized that one-size-fits-all weather updates provide little value for them and weather apps only go so far. Additionally, Wanzek was in need of forensic weather analysis to review past weather events that impacted their project sites.

In 2019, Wanzek partnered with Praedictix to develop customized forecast templates that focus on parameters that are key to their decision-making. These tailored forecasts are sent twice weekly to each project’s management team. Project managers are also sent extreme weather briefings when their project sites are at risk for upcoming disruptive weather. By engaging Praedictix, Wanzek is able to properly schedule and plan their work with much higher success and reliability. In addition to regular forecasts, Wanzek has engaged Praedictix to deliver forensic and historical weather reports to better understand the overall impact of weather on their project sites. Praedictix also provides Wanzek seasonal weather forecasts to assist with long-term planning. The result? We’ll let the client speak. Wanzek Senior Project Manager, TJ Bird, states “the Praedictix team has been a huge help to Wanzek – they’re quick to respond and keep us updated with the information we need to execute a successful project!”

construction weather forecast

The moral of the story? Resilience. If you’re in business, being resilient is a necessity. If you want to learn more about how our construction weather consulting services can plan for the future and build your resilience, connect with us!

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