Making the construction industry resilient to extreme weather: lessons from construction in hot weather conditions

Mohammed N. Alshebani, Gayan Wedawatta

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

Abstract

The construction industry is susceptible to extreme weather events (EWEs) due to most of its activities being conducted by manual workers outdoors. Although research has been conducted on the effects of EWEs, such as flooding and snowfall, limited research has been conducted on the effects of heatwaves and hot weather conditions. Heatwaves present a somewhat different risk profile to construction, unlike EWEs such as flooding and heavy snowfall that present physical obstacles to work onsite. However, heatwaves have affected the construction industry in the UK, and construction claims have been made due to adverse weather conditions. With heatwaves being expected to occur more frequently in the coming years, the construction industry may suffer unlike any other industry during the summer months. This creates the need to investigate methods that would allow construction activities to progress during hot summer months with minimal effect on construction projects. Hence, the purpose of this paper. Regions such as the Middle East and the UAE in particular flourish with mega projects, although temperatures soar to above 40̊C in the summer months. Lessons could be learnt from such countries and adapted in the UK. Interviews have been conducted with a lead representative of a client, a consultant and a contractor, all of which currently operate on UAE projects. The key findings include one of the preliminary steps taken by international construction companies operating in the UAE. This involves restructuring their entire regional team by employing management staff from countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and their labour force from the sub-continent such as India and Pakistan. This is not only due to the cheap wage rate but also to the ability to cope and work in such extreme hot weather conditions. The experience of individuals working in the region allows for future planning, where the difference in labour productivity during the extreme hot weather conditions is known, allowing precautionary measures to be put in place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalProcedia Economics and Finance
Volume18
Early online date30 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event4th international conference on building resilience / 3rd annual meeting of the ANDROID disaster resilience network - MediaCity UK, Salford, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Sep 201411 Sep 2014

Fingerprint

Construction industry
Snow
Personnel
Wages
Contractors
Industry
Lead
Productivity
Planning
Temperature

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Keywords

  • construction
  • extreme weather
  • hot weather
  • heatwaves
  • resilience

Cite this

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abstract = "The construction industry is susceptible to extreme weather events (EWEs) due to most of its activities being conducted by manual workers outdoors. Although research has been conducted on the effects of EWEs, such as flooding and snowfall, limited research has been conducted on the effects of heatwaves and hot weather conditions. Heatwaves present a somewhat different risk profile to construction, unlike EWEs such as flooding and heavy snowfall that present physical obstacles to work onsite. However, heatwaves have affected the construction industry in the UK, and construction claims have been made due to adverse weather conditions. With heatwaves being expected to occur more frequently in the coming years, the construction industry may suffer unlike any other industry during the summer months. This creates the need to investigate methods that would allow construction activities to progress during hot summer months with minimal effect on construction projects. Hence, the purpose of this paper. Regions such as the Middle East and the UAE in particular flourish with mega projects, although temperatures soar to above 40̊C in the summer months. Lessons could be learnt from such countries and adapted in the UK. Interviews have been conducted with a lead representative of a client, a consultant and a contractor, all of which currently operate on UAE projects. The key findings include one of the preliminary steps taken by international construction companies operating in the UAE. This involves restructuring their entire regional team by employing management staff from countries such as Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and their labour force from the sub-continent such as India and Pakistan. This is not only due to the cheap wage rate but also to the ability to cope and work in such extreme hot weather conditions. The experience of individuals working in the region allows for future planning, where the difference in labour productivity during the extreme hot weather conditions is known, allowing precautionary measures to be put in place.",
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Making the construction industry resilient to extreme weather : lessons from construction in hot weather conditions. / Alshebani, Mohammed N.; Wedawatta, Gayan.

In: Procedia Economics and Finance, Vol. 18, 2014, p. 635-642.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

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