Anybody working in the construction industry either here in the UK or anywhere else in the world is likely to know that the weather can present us with particular hazards.
While rain, ice and snow are particularly dangerous to work in, we must always be aware that the wind is also likely to make conditions unsafe. In particular, for those who work at height and those who operate access machinery like cranes.
It’s often the case that adverse weather conditions, especially strong winds, will lead to what’s known as NPT (that’s Non-Productive Time). This can lead to delays in the project and extra costs incurred due to downtime while the workforce waits for the wind to drop.
Project case histories reveal that NPT days can increase the overall time for job completion by more than 100% in some instances. This adds significantly to the total project costs.
Any construction project involving the use of cranes will need to take into account downtime that may result in hours lost due to adverse weather. The total hours lost will need to be recorded accurately with evidential weather reports. This information can then be used if (or when) a dispute arises.
Weather Claims Due to High Winds
These disputes are known in the industry as weather claims. Incremental weather delays will need to be verified with detailed weather summaries showing the actual values and the difference compared to the long term average.
Downtime disputes represent a real problem in the construction industry. Post project reports often rely on accurate historical weather data in order to settle any claims. And this means that crane operators, in particular, will need an accurate record of the weather conditions throughout any project. The records can then be referred to, in order to help settle downtime disputes and claims.
While many accidents that involve cranes are the result of mechanical errors. They may also be the fault of inadequate experience or lack of training (all of which can be addressed). Some accidents are also caused by forces beyond the crane operators control, such as weather conditions. Those working at height using access equipment also need to be aware of the effect high winds can have. There is an important need to minimise the risk of accidents caused by gusty conditions.
Working during windy weather involves taking extra precautionary measures and all crane operators should have the following procedures in place:
- Be able to respond to high wind alerts
- Coordinate with other cranes
- Securing cranes in high winds
If the weather conditions are severe then it’s likely that crane operators will face significant delays in work. This will have a knock-on effect on any construction site.
The Costs of Adverse Weather Conditions
The Construction Trade Survey shows that activity in the construction industry decreased during the first quarter of 2013. The impact of falling demand being intensified by poor weather conditions. When a crane is out of service due to high winds or other harsh weather conditions, the project is delayed which can be very costly and often leads to disputes.
A contractor may be entitled to an extension of time to complete the work necessary and this may lead to a claim for direct loss and expense which is often stringently contested. When there is a delay to a construction project which impacts on the completion date that was not caused by the contractor, this can be seen as a ‘compensation event’ for which the contractor may be entitled to an extension of time.
While some contracts list adverse weather conditions as a relevant event, others may not. Even if adverse weather is not specifically mentioned, it may still qualify as a neutral matter which directly affects the completion date. However, contracts don’t always define the term “adverse weather”, leaving this to the discretion of the contract administrator which is a potential source of disputes.
With adverse weather conditions affecting the progress of construction projects, it’s essential that construction companies understand the rights available to them. Additionally, the contractual processes which must be followed before any extension of time or additional payment can be authorised.
Operating in High Winds
All cranes have a maximum design wind speed and if the wind exceeds this limit, the crane must be taken out of service. Different models of the same type of crane and different configurations of the same model may operate with different maximum wind speeds. This all means that an accurate way of measuring wind speed is essential in order to operate both safely and efficiently.
How to Avoid Extra Costs in Construction
The severity and duration of extreme weather make conditions notoriously difficult to predict. Contractors need to find other ways to keep an eye on the weather in order to ensure maximum safety on building projects. This is where WINDCRANE™ comes into play. It helps contractors to monitor wind speeds and ensure that the appropriate health and safety procedures are followed.
Maintaining safe levels of operation is essential in the construction industry in order to comply with health and safety legislation. Failure to maintain safe levels can lead to fatal or life-changing accidents for workers and costly compensation claims for employers. WINDCRANE™ is the ideal solution to help avoid such accidents.
WINDCRANE for Wind Safety
WINDCRANE™ is a tried and tested wind monitoring kit that offers the following advantages:
- Live maximum wind speed and wind direction data with total accessibility to minimise downtime.
- Instant alerts via mobile phones and computers to improve decision-making, particularly in health and safety.
- Reliable GSM wireless communication delivering data to mobile phones.
- Plug and Play technology. Specialist installation services or technical support is not needed. Updates are carried out automatically and remotely with no changes needed on site.
- Limitless operating range via GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) signals, the default global standard for mobile communication in Europe and most other countries.
- Full historical back up of events with automatic messages sent to site managers and crane operators. Wind speed can be viewed anytime, anywhere and historical information can be exported in an easy-to-use format.
- Tough and durable IP67 rated kit to offer total protection against dust and water immersion. The robust hardware is built to last.
WINDCRANE™ is supplied pre-wired and ready to install. It provides crane operators, site managers and contractors with real time wind speed and wind gust data. This allows construction sites to comply with health and safety policy and ensure that safe work practices are adhered to. Moreover, the WINDCRANE™ kit is 100% mobile. It can be removed and remounted in just a few minutes and can be used on multiple sites within any time period.
WINDCRANE™ allows users to view up-to-date, real-time information via a dashboard display. The kit will issue alerts to notify users of approaching maximum safe wind speeds. It can be powered by mains supply or a solar panel battery pack. Instant wind data is displayed on the dashboard and can also be accessed by office computers and mobile phones.
Avoid Downtime Costs
As for avoiding costs incurred due to downtime and any ensuing project delays, WINDCRANE™ provides historical information. This can be used to provide accurate information during disputes.
Wind speed and direction is measured with an anemometer and recorded using the WINDCRANE™ mobile wind data logger. The wind data is sent remotely to our online data management web portal and dashboard display via GSM. The data is wirelessly transmitted with 24/7 backup providing an efficient and reliable solution with no risk of hardware malfunction.