In light of the recent damage done by hurricane Ida, knowing how to properly prepare your construction site for a hurricane is as important as ever. The heavy wind and rain that come with hurricanes can do a lot of damage to an area, and construction sites are no exception. As a result, properly preparing construction sites for hurricanes is essential for a construction company’s long-term success.
Learn more about how hurricanes can impact construction sites, top hurricane preparation tips and how you can appropriately respond after a hurricane impacts your construction site.
How Hurricanes Can Impact Construction Sites
Like most natural disasters, hurricanes can do a lot of damage to a construction site, so site managers shouldn’t take them lightly. Review some of the ways a hurricane can negatively impact construction sites below:
- Causes delays: These weather events are a significant source of delays for construction sites. A hurricane can destroy the construction site and cause construction companies to start again from square one. Even if the hurricane doesn’t destroy the construction site, it can cause damage and spread debris around the area, leading to delays due to clean-up and repairs. Other delays can come from workers having to deal with personal emergencies before returning to work.
- Increases costs: Since hurricanes regularly result in a higher demand for supplies and a labor shortage, construction companies often run into higher costs. On the labor side, hurricanes result in the need for more workers to make repairs, which can cause your existing construction site to lose workers or have to pay higher wages to retain your workforce. These storms also raise the need for building supplies while an area rebuilds, causing construction companies to have higher supply expenses.
- Damages construction material and equipment: When a hurricane hits a construction site, the site’s materials and equipment can become severely damaged. Due to these damages, a company may have to halt production until equipment is repaired or replaced. If the hurricane harms construction materials, a construction team will likely have to take the time to fix or replace them, resulting in higher costs. A construction team might also have to deal with insurance claims for damaged materials, taking their focus away from the project.
- Reduces labor productivity: Many construction sites regularly see a dip in labor productivity after a hurricane. This reduced productivity can often be attributed to a demoralized workforce because of the personal effects of the hurricane or a team seeing their previous work on a project destroyed. Companies may also have their field supervisors and inspectors devoted to other tasks in the storm’s wake, making crew management tough.
5 Hurricane Preparation Tips for Your Construction Site
Although hurricanes can harm construction sites, your company can take a few steps to minimize the potential for damages and work stoppages after the storm passes. Storm preparation for construction sites involves a few primary actions, such as developing a hurricane preparation plan and securing various materials.
Find out more about the top five tips for construction site storm preparation:
1. Write Out a Hurricane Preparation Plan
Before you prepare your construction site for a hurricane, you need a hurricane preparation plan. An effective hurricane preparation plan will detail all the tasks your team will need to accomplish before a storm hits. This plan will also assign responsibilities to key staff members so they know what tasks to perform for proper storm preparation.
A hurricane preparation plan will also have a timeline for how long it should take to fully secure a job site. By having a timeline, a company can reduce downtime from closing a site too soon or material damage from not having enough time to complete various preparation tasks.
2. Monitor Weather Reports and Local Announcements
If you want to stay on top of hurricane threats and have enough time to prepare, you must have a staff member who monitors weather reports. Since hurricanes can change course, you’ll want to continue to follow local announcements even if the hurricane isn’t projected to hit your site. Your preparedness checklist can help you know exactly when you need to start taking action based on the most recent weather reports.
3. Secure Essential Job Site Materials
Once it looks like there’s a high chance of a hurricane passing through your construction site, it’s time to secure essential job site materials. A hurricane’s strong winds can send unsecured supplies flying around a construction site. Due to the damage flying debris and equipment can cause, it’s crucial you either tie them down or take them away from the site to a secure location.
If you have driveable equipment on your worksite, you may want to take it to a secure facility to avoid costly damages. A site with tower cranes should also evaluate the cranes’ wind ratings to ensure they won’t blow over and damage other buildings during the hurricane. Additionally, you may need to add extra protection to cranes, such as tie-down supports and wind veining.
4. Prepare for Water Removal
Such a severe storm can dump a lot of water on a construction site, making it difficult to work once the storm ends. This excess water can also harm workers and adjacent properties since it can reduce other buildings’ structural stability.
As a result, one of the best construction preparation tips you can follow is to place pumps in basements or excavations before a storm. As soon as your team gets back to work, they can use these pumps to remove the water. Typically, you’ll want to empty any water into the street so the stormwater system can dispose of it. However, if the stormwater system is overwhelmed, you can get rid of it offsite by using a tanker truck.
5. Protect the Structure
Another tip for proper hurricane preparation for construction sites is to protect any structures on your site from damage. If your construction site already has a structure, you can safeguard the interior by boarding up windows and other openings. Consider placing sandbags around the structure’s perimeter to prevent water from flowing inside.
What to Do After the Storm
As seen with hurricane Ida, damage from the storm is inevitable and will require the right action plan in order to get back to work as fast as possible. Some of the top ways you can respond to the damage done by hurricane Ida include:
- Assess the damage: Before you get back to work, it’s essential you know the extent of the damage. During this assessment, you can spot potential hazards and make a plan for how you plan to deal with the damage.
- Use caution: Any actions you take during clean-up should be made with caution since there may be hazards. For example, jagged debris under the water can cut workers, and downed power lines may still be energized, potentially shocking your workers once they contact the water. Proceed with extreme caution before you let staff enter the construction site.
- Secure the right equipment for clean-up: A hurricane often results in construction sites having a lot of clean-up to do. Cat® rental earthmoving equipment can often make clean-up easier and quicker, helping you quickly move debris away from your site.
Now that you know more about proper construction site storm preparation and are likely going through the clean-up process after hurricane Ida, you might be interested in how Louisiana Cat can help with that process. At Louisiana Cat, we offer high-quality rental Cat machines designed for assisting with clean-up, such as excavators, skid steer loaders, dozers, backhoes, wheel loaders, aerial lifts, and light towers. If you’re interested in always having this machinery handy, we offer new and used equipment for purchase.
Review our selection of rental equipment today to find the perfect machinery for your clean-up needs. If you have any questions, please free to call us at (800) 766-4070 to find the nearest Louisiana Rents location.