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March 22, 2021

Weather the unexpected: Preparing construction sites for storms and natural catastrophes

Project plans allow construction firms to keep things running smoothly. But how do builders and contractors plan for the unexpected — a major storm or another natural catastrophe that threatens a construction site? Our team has put together a series of preparedness guides that can help.

Original content: AXA XL

These guides walk you through the best ways to prepare construction sites in advance of:

Learn more about what’s included in these guides and get started planning for the spring storm season.

Be aware of your risk
Becoming aware is the first step in planning for storm events and natural catastrophes. Each guide provides an overview with the time of year the event can occur, where it’s most likely to happen in the U.S., and the types of weather involved. The guides review potential losses that can result from each event and help contractors develop routines for monitoring weather and other catastrophes.

Connect possible events to project plans
How you prepare for an event often depends on the current phase of the construction project. For example, is the roof completed? Is the site enclosed? Do the pipes have running water? Questions in the guides help contractors develop a practice for reviewing project statuses and identifying what preparation would need to happen if an event occurred.

Prepare your people and make a communication plan
To be ready for events, your people need to know the plan, how they would implement it, and most importantly, how to stay safe. That might mean discussing possible procedures at the beginning of a storm season or running a test to make sure everyone gets important instructions via text. The guides provide this type of assistance for each specific event.

Check your materials
If a major storm is on the horizon, you might need materials to tie down equipment and put out sandbags. Or in the aftermath of a catastrophe, you may require flashlights or fire extinguishers. Each guide includes a checklist of materials so you can make sure you have the right materials ready and in good condition.

What to plan for next: spring storms
Spring is fast approaching, and for many construction companies across the U.S., that could mean spring storms. These weather events can arise suddenly, bringing hail, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flash flooding.
Tornadoes can occur in all states. About one-third of tornadoes occur at night (more than 40% of tornadoes in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky are nocturnal). These nighttime events can be particularly damaging since people do not typically have any time to prepare.
In the Midwest, heavy spring rains can cause flooding, and rains can potentially lead to mudslides, especially in West Coast states. In areas where snow accumulates during winter, heavy rains and/or warmer temperatures can lead to rapid snowmelt that contributes to flooding.
After these storms, the losses that AXA XL often sees are due to water damage, fires from power surges caused by lightning strikes, and other damage from high winds and hail.

Use the spring preparedness guide to review your current project plan and determine what you can do to avoid damage from water, wind, hail, and lightning this spring.

Download our complete set of preparedness guides here.

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