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Industry precautions when working in bad weather

If you thought last winter was cold, I’ve got bad news for you. This winter is expected to be the coldest for ten years.

According to weather forecasters Exacta Weather, temperatures are expected to fall well below average with things getting even worse in the New Year with widespread snowfall, icy storms and high winds. In the winter, strong winds, cold temperatures, snow and rain have the potential to cause serious hazards for workers in the industry, both regarding disruption to current building projects and possible damage to existing buildings that may not meet current wind and snow load standards.

External walls and roofs not designed to withstand such extreme weather demands could suffer severe damage. However, with preventative action the extent of such damage can be lessened, according to UK leading roofing and cladding specialists, CA Group Ltd. Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed changing weather intensity with severe flooding, record summer temperatures, early snowfall and now we’re facing a potentially harsh winter. Such unpredictable situations can prove costly, severely impacting timeframes on new builds and refurbishment projects and putting older buildings under much pressure.  Traditionally, buildings were designed with local climates in mind and not for worse-case and unpredictable weather, which means they are more susceptible to weather damage. This is much less of an issue for new builds which tend to be better designed, better equipped and much more capable of responding to extreme weather.

Poor specifications can lead to poor installations – resulting in major failures. Ridge and verge flashings that have ripped off the building are some of the most common faults and can often prove costly. Bull nose features at eaves and verges, unless correctly designed and correctly installed with adequate fasteners, are prone to failure.  Ridges, corners and edges of a building are most susceptible to high winds.  It is therefore crucial for project-specific calculations to be undertaken to establish the loads, complete with full design data for the cladding systems and details, or the buildings envelope will not be designed to withstand the wind loads in the concentrated areas.

In anticipation of the bad weather, there are preventative measures that can be taken. Something as simple as introducing snow guards and measures to manually remove the snow can prevent serious accidents but my one piece of advice would just be prepared for the weather or work with a company who knows how to deal with it.  CA Group work to establish structural standards, load capacities and risk analysis to provide a thorough assessment of a building’s needs over its life, taking into account snow, wind pressure, location and altitude. Working from such an informed position results in a much higher quality build, with the likelihood of weather damage being far less.

For further guidance please contact CA Group Ltd on technical@cagroup.co.uk

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