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Weather assessment solutions in construction: Helping control risks, time and money
October 28, 2019
It’s raining. It’s pouring. We can’t install flooring.
Weather is a critical factor in construction design, planning and execution and has among the most varied and far-reaching effects on project outcome. From breaking ground to post-project documentation, weather can affect site/building condition, scheduling, operations and worker safety. In fact, just one serious weather event leading to a day of lost work on a $200 M project could cost a construction company $250 K directly from its profit.
And it’s not as if these issues are avoidable. Weather is a constant concern for the construction industry, which is by nature exposed to the elements. But advancements in meteorological solutions, forecast technologies and historical databases are arming site supervisors with the data they need to make the best decisions for their work site. They can look at a weekly forecast on a common weather service mobile app and have a high degree of certainty about heat, rain, wind or storms that could affect project progress and worker safety.
Weather data also aids in the bidding and planning phases of construction. AXA XL’s North America Construction team has been working to apply a high-tech solution to manage weather’s varied, capricious and complex risks. The team has been piloting Athenium Analytics’ (formerly Weather Analytics) GaugeConstruction solution, which promises to help clients adjust daily schedules to respond to temperature, precipitation and wind. Its extensive, hyper-local weather datasets help construction site managers plan more effectively and more profitably.
A construction project requires the effective management of risk: safety, time, cost and quality. Together, AXA XL and Athenium Analytics are leveraging data to build prediction and leading indicators into all aspects of your construction ecosystem to enable better risk management.
Stay tuned for the long-range forecast
If it’s too wet, you can’t excavate. If it’s too windy, you can’t operate a crane. If it’s too hot, you can’t pour concrete. In the moment, these conditions help inform daily operations, but what if you could predict, with a high degree of certainty, that you should avoid digging trenches on a particular site during the first two weeks of May?
It’s this practical, actionable information that Athenium Analytics offers with GaugeConstruction. Its seven-day forecasts allow site managers to adjust work schedules and task assignments, plus it empowers you to more effectively plan and price projects long before a project breaks ground. Make more strategic decisions about your business and project portfolio with GaugeConstruction:
– Use historical weather data to calculate expected lost weather days for more accurate bidding, budgeting and timeline forecasts.
– Determine which weeks have the greatest risk for weather delays throughout the year at both the project site and phase level to properly plan and schedule for a job.
– Integrate comprehensive and updated weather data into every step of the risk management process, from pre-construction forecasting to post-event debriefs and documentation.
In all, better weather data provides clearer insights for risk managers to help identify and mitigate risks on future projects.
Zones of high pressure
Contractors face constant pressure to deliver projects on time and under budget, but weather doesn’t care about that. Just as the morning weather forecast will tell you whether you should bring an umbrella to work, construction forecasting solutions that use up-to-date, hyper-local data help site supervisors, project managers and risk professionals adjust their schedules on a weekly, daily and even hourly basis. GaugeConstruction empowers you to:
– Protect materials and resources from severe weather damage by optimizing delivery, use and storage.
– Ensure structural integrity during every phase of construction by planning for key changes in temperature, winds and precipitation that could compromise key project phases.
– Ensure worker safety with accurate temperature, heat index and precipitation readings. Extreme temperatures (high or low) can affect worker safety and productivity. Precipitation can greatly enhance the risk of slip injuries and the risk of collapse in an excavation site.
– Plan around high winds (and gusts), which could contribute to catastrophic machine failures. High winds also threaten workers on ladders, scaffolding, man lifts and other devices. Contractors can set wind threshold alerts to ensure no workers step off the ground if gusts are forecasted above the pre-set safety threshold.
Clearing with increased visibility
Following a severe weather event or, worse, a loss that results from a severe weather event, real-time post event documentation can help mitigate or avoid future losses.
GaugeConstruction provides detailed post-event weather assessments that offer a clear snapshot of hour-by-hour variables faced at every job site. These forensics reports include perils such as hail, rainfall, freezing rain, snowfall, cold, heat and wind (both at ground level and at altitude) for the exact location, rather than from an airport weather station that can be dozens of miles away. Risk managers gain the ability to quickly assess actual conditions at a specific site, to understand potential losses and to plan risk control mechanisms for future similar events. They also provide vital insight into understanding a loss, identifying root causes and taking steps to prevent them.
As climate change continues to increase both the likelihood and severity of weather events (especially heat, drought and heavy precipitation), the need for accurate forecasting tools is essential for effective construction planning and execution. (Learn more on the Athenium Climate Change landing page)
What’s on the radar?
Mitigating weather risk means more than just battening down the hatches before an incoming storm. It means connecting the dots and making informed business decisions that can help contractors manage weather risks throughout their operation.
“A big challenge that so many industries face, including the construction industry, is capitalizing on all the data and information available to them,” according to Donna Nadeau, AXA XL’s Chief Operating Officer for North America. “We see an opportunity to do even more. Construction companies generate lots of data. Helping them integrate their data and use it effectively present creates a huge opportunity for us.”
“We’re looking at ways that we can help contractors stitch together all the information and data available to them to take greater advantage of greater insights, to plan day-to-day activities, redirect resources, avoid risky safety situations, and challenge conventional wisdom – we are changing the way we and our partners evaluate risk that can give them a competitive advantage and so much more,” says Donna.
By providing access to more information and data, as well as high-tech solutions, there’s an opportunity to partner closely with our clients to protect their property, profits and people from whatever Mother Nature has in store.
- About The Author
- Justin Gress, Strategic Operations, AXA XL, and Mike Bennett, Sales and Product Strategies, Athenium Analytics