Well it is! We can be stuck out there in freezing conditions or pouring rain in winter. In summer we have to boil with hard hat and PPE in the glorious sunshine! Oh, sorry, they are a personal worry, not construction worries.Okay then, we have just got rid of the last of the mixer wagons and we have laid a nice big concrete slab to stick something up on; what weather might we have to worry about? A quick list will include rain, frost, sunshine and wind.
- If it rains we have to get the concrete covered up to stop it getting soaked and the surface ruined. We would normally do this anyway, just as routine, to aid curing.
- If it freezes we have to go mad and wrap it up to keep it warm so it continues to cure and doesn’t start cracking with the water in it expanding as it freezes.
- If it is all hot, bright and sunny we have to wrap it up to keep it cool! – And to stop the water evaporating our before the concrete is cured.
- If it is windy whatever reason we had for wrapping our concrete up, the protective covering is liable to blow away!
That is just when we want to lay concrete on the surface of the ground. If we want to dig holes to pour it into the weather becomes an even bigger worry! You’ve just dug a nice deep, long trench to stick something or other in. It would have been a good idea to have put a roof over it and built dams around the side because it might rain! Sure enough, it does rain! A downpour for days! Instead of a nice trench we have a nice canal. Invite the local canoeists to come and make use of it, why not! Eventually the rain stops and the Met Office says it is going to be dry for a few days. All we can do then is hire a pump, which hasn’t been budgeted for, and pump the water out. Where to? We have hit an unlucky spell so all we can do with the water is flood the rest of the site with it! On a good day there would have been a main sewer handy or a near-by stream we could have used!
The water is all out and what have we got? Certainly not a nice trench anymore! Collapsing sides all misshapen and a bottom that is just deep sloshy mud! All we can do is wait for it all to dry out enough to straighten it all up, clean out the bottom and fork out cash for all the additional concrete required for this bigger hole. We could save on the concrete by putting shuttering in but that, too, pushes up the costs.
Suppose we dug this nice trench in the summer; all goes well until just at the end! The weather turns to glorious sunshine; the sides of the trench start drying out, cracking and falling in! Only option is to spend extra cash on shuttering again!
Anyway we have eventually got our concrete slab sorted out and we are building on it. Rain stops the brickies. Frost stops the brickies. Sunshine can stop the brickies! Wind can blow water through the window openings and soak the interior so work has to stop. Increasingly, driven by sheer necessity, we are seeing money being splurged on weather protection over and around more and more buildings as they go up!
Well that is about it for why we always have to worry about the weather in construction. But, going back to the beginning, I do wonder why we choose to work in weather-struck construction rather than in the warmth and comfort of an office or factory! Oh, that’s right! We wouldn’t be “dead hard” if we did that! On top of which we take great satisfaction from creating the built environment for others to live and work in.