Although the UK is synonymous with bad weather, the reality is that climate change means the country experiences temperature extremes at both ends of the scale. Taking 2020 as an example, which most people would agree has been pleasantly warm, we had the wettest ever February followed by the sunniest May on record. The BBC confirms that October 3rd was then named as the rainiest day the UK has ever seen so far.
This pattern of extremes is forecast to continue, and the Met Office is now launching a tool to assist planners in preparing for all eventualities. But what do these sudden changes in weather mean to the construction industry, and how can firms and site managers prepare themselves for these seasonal shifts?
Key Safety Considerations
Extreme weather is a threat to your entire construction site, including any staff onsite as well as visiting or nearby personnel. From the risk of lightning hitting your scaffolding to visibility problems caused by fog, blinding sunshine or heavy rain, there’s always the potential for an accident when extreme weather hits the UK.
These sudden weather changes can cause chaos and disruption to construction, due to the outdoor environment which labourers must work in. From snow, sleet and storms to blistering heat during the summer, any unusual weather patterns can halt construction activity in its tracks. It is often unsafe to recommence work until the weather is more temperate or until specific safety concerns have been appropriately addressed. Not only can this throw out the schedule for your project works, but it may also create construction security concerns.
Criminals are aware of the opportunities presented by extreme weather. They know that abandoned sites hold the potential for a wealth of expensive equipment and machinery to be left around, and this is what holds tremendous value to intruders. In fact, construction site theft is known to cost £800 million to the industry each year, according to insurer Allianz Cornhill.
Security Patrol Disruption
If you rely on manned patrols of your site, then a sudden change in weather can negatively impact your security strategy. The physical presence of a security guard can be a fantastic deterrent to would-be intruders, who will usually run a mile if there is a threat that they could be caught in the act of a break-in.
However, manned patrol shifts can be disrupted or missed entirely when extreme weather hits the UK. A common problem is guards who are physically unable to get to work on time, due to travel limitations, being delayed either by road or public transport. Similarly, you may have security guards who do make it to the workplace, but may choose not to conduct their duties as thoroughly in severe weather conditions.
Construction Site Security Options
Whilst traditional manned patrols of your site have multiple benefits, they are best used in conjunction with advanced security strategies which aren’t affected by the weather. Wireless video verification alarms allow virtual monitoring of your construction site on a 24/7 basis, regardless of whether your works are able to continue. When any security events are detected, these can be verified offsite, whereby an SIA-approved response team will be dispatched to deal with the intrusion.
For more information on how to protect your construction site throughout all seasons, get in touch with our expert team today for a FREE site security review.