Being builders based in Newton Abbot, South Devon in the South West of England we are blessed with a mild climate. In the summer we are fortunate enough to enjoy some very pleasant weather. When we were thinking about this we wondered whether our readers were aware of how the prevailing warm weather conditions can have an affect on the building industry and in this article we set out some of those effects.
Long spells of hot, dry weather are likely to cause dust which can cause problems to workers and can also spread to the interior of buildings on site. One way to alleviate the effects of dust is to spread a water mist over the affected area.
Dry weather can cause rapid evaporation of the water content in concrete and this can result in concrete that has a lower compressive strength and a finished item that has a tendency to curl in an upward direction and to spall.
As with concrete, dry weather causes the moisture in mortar to evaporate too quickly. This results in the mortar starting to set early. As a consequence, the brick may not absorb the mortar adequately, resulting in a lessening of the strength of the bond between the bricks and the mortar. The unfortunate consequence of this is the possibility of masonry leaks.
In warm weather bricks need to be adequately wetted before they are laid. If they are not, they are likely to absorb the water in the mortar too quickly, resulting in inadequate absorption of the mortar paste and a consequent reduction in the quality of the bond, causing masonry leaks.
Warm weather can also affect the application and the performance of paint. During application, when the air or surface temperature is too high the solvents in the paint evaporate too rapidly. This stops the paint from curing properly, possibly resulting in wrinkles, blisters, peeling, and cracking.
Of course, it is not just the materials that suffer in the warm weather. The workforce is equally susceptible, particularly those who are exposed to sunshine for long period, such as roofers It is important that the workforce is instructed in the use of sun screens. Dehydration is always a possibility in the heat and, if this is not treated it can even extend to sunstroke. Plenty of cold, non-alcoholic drinks should be consumed during the day to avoid this risk. Hats should also be worn to prevent heat loss through the scalp. A responsible employer will also recognise that the workforce are likely to become fatigued more easily when working in the warm weather.
Although the summer is always welcomed in the South West, it can have its disadvantages to the building industry. As long as those of us who are involved in the industry are aware of the risks that the warm weather brings we can Keep Calm and Carry On – Building!
The Builders SW
Decoy Industrial Estate,