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Severe weather strategies to help the construction industry

September 4, 2019

Karen Reutter, Head of Construction for Zurich North America, shares strategies to help the industry build resilience to severe weather events.

Karen Reutter

Head of Construction, U.S. Commercial Insurance

Karen Reutter is the U.S. Commercial Insurance Head of Construction for Zurich North America. In... About this expert

 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 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.