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2024’s Bad Weather Affects UK Construction Site Programming

Weather conditions play a crucial role in the construction industry, significantly impacting site programming and the movement of soils and aggregates. The recent wet weather in the UK provides a stark example of how adverse weather conditions can disrupt construction activities and contribute to declines in construction output. This article delves into the specific challenges posed by bad weather, particularly in relation to moving soils and aggregates, and highlights the broader implications for the construction industry.

The Impact of Wet Weather on Construction Output

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), construction output fell by 0.9% in the first quarter of the year, mirroring the previous quarter’s decline. This decline was driven primarily by a 1.8% fall in new work, with private commercial new work dropping by 5.3%. In contrast, repair and maintenance activities grew by 0.3%, as housing associations focused more on existing stock, likely due to the weather-related challenges affecting new projects.

Fraser Johns, finance director at Beard, attributed the weak performance in the early months of the year partly to the wet weather in February. These conditions made it difficult for construction firms to maintain their schedules, particularly when it came to tasks involving the movement and handling of soils and aggregates. The combination of heavy rains and waterlogged sites can halt progress, increase costs, and necessitate extensive rescheduling.

Broader Implications for the Construction Industry

The challenges posed by bad weather extend beyond individual projects to affect the entire construction sector. Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), highlighted a “worrying trend” as construction output declined each month in early 2024. Clive Docwra, managing director of McBains, noted that the ongoing technical recession in the construction sector is exacerbated by economic uncertainties, with weather conditions adding another layer of complexity.

Scott Motley, head of programme, project, and cost management at Aecom, emphasized the persistent high costs of doing business and the challenges that will remain until interest rates drop significantly. The reluctance of investors to commit to new projects amid economic and weather-related uncertainties underscores the need for robust risk management and adaptive strategies in the construction industry.

In Summary

Bad weather remains a formidable challenge for the construction industry, particularly in the movement of soils and aggregates. The recent decline in construction output attributed to wet conditions underscores the need for adaptive strategies and robust planning. By embracing innovative solutions and flexible approaches, the industry can better navigate the impacts of weather, ensuring project continuity and sustainability.

For more information on sustainable construction practices and how digital platforms like Soil Link can assist in identifying alternatives to landfill, sign up to receive our newsletter (top right). Soil Link’s Materials Exchange Platform offers significant benefits, including CO2e reduction, substantial cost savings, and access to the UK’s largest database of materials, promoting a greener and more efficient construction industry.

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