Effect Of Inclement Weather On Construction Schedule & How To Manage It


Many factors can affect the smooth running of a construction project; inclement weather happens to be one of the greatest interruptions. Irrespective of the construction company and how dedicated and reliable they might be, bad weather can halt your project for days.

Heavy rain, wind, snow, thunderstorms, and other elements are examples of inclement weather conditions that can cause minor and severe inconveniences during construction. Even in some cases, these elements can pose serious safety risks to workers as well.

For this reason, it is important you understand the effect of inclement weather on the construction schedule and the comprehensive strategies to mitigate risk and ensure the success of a project. Let’s get started, shall we?

What is inclement weather in construction?

In construction, inclement weather means that the weather is severe or harsh enough to pause or halt the construction process. This causes a delay because the safety of the workers, working equipment, and the project itself has to be considered.

The reason for this is that personnel working through these conditions may damage equipment or inflict injuries on themselves, putting lives at risk. Also, the quality of the work will be affected if the weather condition itself is severe.

Effect of inclement weather on construction schedule

Weather can affect the construction process significantly, from the schedule to the quality of the project and the workers involved. Here are the main effects of weather on construction.

1. Project delay

Bad weather conditions like heavy rainfall, snow, thunderstorms, etc can cause delays during construction. Heavy rainfall can be challenging to work with, pouring in the foundation becomes tricky, and concrete dry time will take longer than expected. 

Snow is another inclement weather condition that can cause project delays. Wet or frozen ground is very tricky to work on, excavation becomes difficult, and working with equipment becomes tricky. 

Thunderstorms are no joke. According to the CDC study on “natural disasters and severe weather,” 28 people die each year from lightning strikes. It is usually advised to stay indoors during thunderstorms as participating in outdoor activities increases the risk of being struck by lightning. This means that during a thunderstorm, all outdoor construction activities have to be put on hold.

2. Safety Concerns

Aside from delays in the timeline of a project, inclement weather conditions can pose risks to the safety of construction workers playing different roles. Slippery surfaces caused by rainfall or snow can lead to accidents and injuries. Although most construction companies implement safety measures to reduce these risks, in cases where the weather conditions are severe, work has to be halted for safety concerns.

3. The quality of the work may suffer

Certain weather conditions may also affect the quality of the structure itself. Heavy rainfall might cause the applied coating to be washed away or delay the drying time of concrete. Extreme heat can also cause concrete to dry too fast, and freezing temperatures might affect the curing of concrete.  All of these examples can reduce the quality of the structure, and in the worst-case scenario, it can cause buildings to collapse.

4. Cost overruns

Weather delays can also increase the overall project costs. Equipment will have to be rented for extended hours, and workers will have to be paid for additional hours. Most importantly, repairs and reworks might be required, all adding to the project’s expense.

How to manage the effect of inclement weather on the construction schedule

Managing a project in adverse weather conditions can be a very difficult task to handle. Some of these steps should help you deal with inclement weather in construction.

1. Check the weather forecast regularly & schedule events around weather events

Checking the weather forecast for each day is a critical step in managing the effect the weather has on your construction schedule. Knowing beforehand what will happen allows you to take a proactive approach.  You can simply adjust the schedule and work on the indoor sector rather than halt the entire construction; this way, you can avoid downtime and productivity loss.

2. Use protective gear and resources

For both safety and productivity reasons, ensure workers and equipped to work on hot, cold, or rainy days. This means that proper clothing and footwear will be provided, protecting them from the elements. However, in cases where the weather conditions are severe, it would be best to stop all outdoor projects.

3. Secure the project at all cost

Always make sure you have a plan to secure your project in worst-case scenarios. There are measures you can take to protect the project against the elements. They include;

  • The use of tarps to cover partially completed projects
  • The use of hessian sheet on blocks
  • The use of water pumps to remove excess water for the work site if needed
  • Keeping all blocks, electrical equipment, and working tools in a safe and dry place
  • The use of polyurethane liquid membrane to cover flat roofs

4. Budget for weather delays

As I mentioned earlier in this article, bad weather conditions may lead to cost overruns in construction. Expecting and budgeting for these events helps keep the construction schedule valid; you will have capital at hand to cover these costs adequately and swiftly. 


What does inclement weather mean?

Inclement weather refers to severe or harsh weather conditions.

Can weather delays be included in construction contracts?

Absolutely, most construction companies include declarations about weather delays in contracts. These contracts usually include clauses for defining acceptable delays, updating the schedule in reference to any delay, notifying the client, etc.

In summary  – Effect of inclement weather on the construction schedule

Inclement weather conditions can take their toll on the construction project. It can delay the project drastically, it can pose a safety risk to the well-being of workers, it can cause a cost overrun, and it can affect the quality of the project entirely.

The truth is that construction projects are not immune to inclement weather conditions. Therefore, it is important to have a plan in the instant your project is hit with any inclement weather conditions. This includes the use of daily weather forecasts to know the nature of the weather and make modifications to match the weather event. It also includes making plans to protect all equipment, workers, and the project itself.

This is why working with an experienced construction company is advised. At Samkins Construction Lnc, we pride ourselves on building the best for our clients. Get in touch with us now.

Thanks for reading this article.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


Sign up to receive the latest news and updates from our company.

More questions? Get in touch