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Severe weather strategies to help the construction industry

September 4, 2019

Building sites face unprecedented challenges from severe weather. We share five ways to help build resilience to the impact of these events.

 FMI Q3 2019

Grappling with bad weather has always been a challenge for the construction industry. Recent severe weather events, however, are putting an even greater focus on the need to protect building sites.

Extreme weather is listed as the top likeliest risk in the 2019 Global Risks Report, an annual barometer from the World Economic Forum.1 By mid-2019, six weather and climate disaster events in the U.S. created losses exceeding $1 billion each.2 But it doesn’t take a billion-dollar disaster to jeopardize a construction project. The hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and wildfires that have understandably garnered national attention can obscure troublesome weather patterns across the U.S.

Severe thunderstorms and flooding, for instance, can create problems and delays on job sites. In 2018, the national average precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was 34.6 inches, nearly 4.7 inches above average and the wettest in the past 35 years.3 Extreme heat and cold, hailstorms, blizzards, lightning, drought and microbursts – all of these events could derail a building project. Bad weather threatens workers, delays scheduling and can cause significant damage to equipment, materials and the work site itself.

Is your building site prepared for severe weather?

As weather patterns change and worsen, it is important for general contractors to reevaluate their risk management strategy. Here are five questions to help gauge your preparedness in the face of unpredictable weather:

  • Does your builders risk coverage sufficiently protect your construction project?
  • Are you doing enough during the planning phase to prepare your job site for severe weather events?
  • Is your job site adequately protected from bad weather once work begins?
  • Have you built strategies to help you navigate weather delays?
  • Are you using the most accurate tools and technology at your disposal to obtain the best weather forecasts?

We explore the answers to these questions to help you build resilience in this new era of severe weather.

Read the article

1. The Global Risks Report 2019. World Economic Forum. 15 January 2019.
2. “Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Overview.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). Note: Figures adjusted for Consumer Price Index. 9 July 2019. 
3. “Assessing the U.S. Climate in 2018.” National Centers for Environmental Information. 6 February 2019. 

The information in this publication was compiled from sources believed to be reliable for informational purposes only. All sample policies and procedures herein should serve as a guideline, which you can use to create your own policies and procedures. We trust that you will customize these samples to reflect your own operations and believe that these samples may serve as a helpful platform for this endeavor. Any and all information contained herein is not intended to constitute advice (particularly not legal advice). Accordingly, persons requiring advice should consult independent advisors when developing programs and policies. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with this publication and sample policies and procedures, including any information, methods or safety suggestions contained herein. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of this information, whether to reflect new information, future developments, events or circumstances or otherwise. Moreover, Zurich reminds you that this cannot be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedure or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. The subject matter of this publication is not tied to any specific insurance product nor will adopting these policies and procedures ensure coverage under any insurance policy.

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