During the colder months, many businesses and construction sites may not think to safeguard against flooding. If you’re part of this majority, you might think hurricane season is the important time to think about flooding. However, according to FEMA, winter flooding is a major risk for every part of the United States, whether you’re near the coast or not. This winter, make sure your construction site is prepared for this weather threat.
Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the US, and the wintertime isn’t an exception. From storm surges in coastal areas to river flooding from ice jams, no area is protected from winter weather. In the construction industry, the chance of winter flooding can cause extensive damage and project delays. Practice these five steps to get your site ready.
Watch the weather forecasts
Install flooding protection
Store your equipment properly
Plan for project delays
Protect your employees
1) Watch the weather forecasts
Stay ahead of incoming storms by keeping a close eye on what weather forecasters are predicting. For an updated flood outlook for your area, reference the National Weather Service’s updates. Depending on the location of your worksite, the prediction center can help you plan better for potential flooding.
2) Install flooding protection
Be ready for heavy rains and melting snow with a flood protection solution designed for you. Whether you need to install a metal flood barrier or inflatable cofferdam, make sure the barrier is accessible. If water levels were to rise during a storm, you need to be ready. By protecting against winter flood, you can minimize the amount of water damage that affects your site.
Pro Tip: The Aqua-Barrier is an excellent flood control alternative to traditional sandbags. Make sure the cofferdam is apart of the emergency aid kit for your business.
3) Store your equipment properly
Keep your equipment dry and warm this winter season. The severity of winter storms can be hard to predict, but it’s important to have a way to protect your equipment. By moving trucks to higher ground, using appropriate hydraulic oils for cold temperatures, and providing a way to warm tools, you can ensure the durability of your equipment.
4) Plan for project delays
Include weather-based extensions in the contract for your construction project. As much as you’d like to stick to your project’s schedule, rain, snow and ice storms can prevent your workers from being able to build. Be sure to schedule a reasonable completion date by planning for weather delays in advance.
5) Protect your employees
Have you prepared an emergency plan for your employees? In the unfortunate case that your worksite is flooded, it’s important to have a way to keep your employees safe during and after the storm. Be sure to have a first aid kit and communication system convenient for all employees to use in the time of a severe storm.
Are you ready for the winter months?
Whether your construction site is near a body of water or not, it’s important to have the resources available to protect your team and equipment in the winter. That being said, the risk of flood damage is ongoing throughout the year. Make sure you’re prepared to handle the changing weather conditions for your next construction project.
Do you know the warning signs of frostbite or hypothermia? Completing construction projects in cold weather can present a number of health concerns for your crew. Make sure your construction site is prepared to handle the cold temperatures this season.
Because of skin numbness, most people won’t realize they’re suffering from frostbite unless someone were to point it out. For construction workers, this can be very dangerous. As the manager of your company, how are you planning to help your team avoid frostbite? This winter, it should be your top priority to keep your workers warm and safe on your job site.
Make Training a Priority
The first step to avoiding frostbite or any injury is through proper training. From identifying what clothes to wear to knowing how to recognize a problem, colder weather presents a number of new concerns. Even the healthiest workers can suffer from frostbite or hypothermia; preparing your whole team to watch out for warning signs will protect you from further harm. Hire a professional or enroll your team in a class to teach them the health-related risks.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Out of all of the ways to protect yourself from cold weather, the right construction gear is the most beneficial. Make sure your team has the right clothing to protect against freezing winter air and snow. From hard hats with liners to waterproof jackets, your clothing is the first defense against cold weather. Keep your team protected by providing the appropriate uniform for working in cool temperatures.
Provide Dry and Heated Break Areas
The risk of frostbite and hypothermia is heightened in areas that contain moisture or dampness. Between bridge-building and pipeline construction, the majority of worksites have water in or surrounding them. Protect your workers by allowing regular breaks and providing warm, dry areas to rest. With a portable heater and inflatable cofferdam, you can easily turn your job site into a suitable place for anyone to work.
Pro Tip: Dewatering is the process of removing water from a construction site for better application in construction sites. Invest in a water-barrier for your job site to keep surrounding water under control.
The Importance of Winter Construction Safety
From freezing equipment to slippery work conditions, construction in cold weather can put your workers at risk for trench foot, frostbite, or hypothermia. Without the proper safety measures, your project won’t be completed in time and your workers will get injured. This winter, prepare your job site for the various weather elements that occur.
Topsoil erosion is one of the biggest environmental issues facing our world today. According to the World Wildlife Federation, half of all topsoil on the planet has eroded away over the past 150 years. And unfortunately, not only is it nearly impossible to retrieve eroded soil, but it also causes significant pollution problems when it reaches rivers or oceans.
What can you do to reduce topsoil erosion? While the construction industry presents several hazards that can contribute to water runoff or further erosion, a few changes to your equipment or routine could help to drastically reduce erosion at your location. Here are a few strategies to get you started.
Before construction begins, visit your worksite and take a look around. Is the ground sloped or covered in loose soil? What nearby ground or features could be affected by water runoff?
Additionally, take note of anything you can potentially use to prevent erosion. For instance, if your excavation requires you to remove trees, bring a mulcher along and convert the trees into mulch to cover the exposed ground. Not only will this help the soil stay in place after your project is done, but it will also prevent the trees from simply going to waste.
Pro Tip: Soil runoff from a construction project not only erodes the landscape but can also pour silt into rivers. Set up silt fencing to prevent severe soil runoff from occurring.
Cover the Ground
Mulch isn’t your only option to cover exposed soil. You can temporarily cover small areas with plastic sheets, or for a long-term solution, plant grass seeds to hold the ground in place. Once the excavation is complete, talk with your landscaper or local wildlife experts to find the best species of grass to sow. Whatever you ultimately choose, make sure the ground is adequately protected against further erosion.
Don’t be in a Rush
Despite your best efforts, erosion can still occur if you rush your project. Take a little extra time to excavate only one portion of the worksite at a time and cover the ground before you move on to the next one. Try to disrupt the local ecosystem as little as possible. The additional time required to do a good job will be worth the reduction in erosion and its associated costs.
Minimize Erosion in Your Projects
Sediment control should be one of your primary concerns as you work to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. No matter what your project entails, it’s not difficult to implement strategies to help protect the local ecosystem. Take care to observe your worksite and plan ahead to prevent erosion in construction projects.
Construction is generally a rather slow-moving job. With a line of crews waiting to work on each section of the project and a looming deadline for completion, it proves to be demanding work. Any way to save time is welcome.
Fortunately, jobs that involve dewatering have a massive advantage for saving time: the Aqua-Barrier. This inflatable temporary cofferdam is a quick, easy way to clear the worksite in a matter of hours and let work begin almost immediately. Let’s take a look at what an inflatable dam could do for your project.
A conventional cofferdam, typically made of concrete or steel, requires a good amount of work and care. First, the wall itself is installed in the proper place to establish the border of the worksite. Next, huge pumps remove the water from the site, allowing the crew to enter and begin the project. The most obvious problem with this set-up is the time involved in constructing a secure wall, then dewatering afterward. This process could take an entire day, potentially more if the worksite is especially large. And when the job is done, what will you do with the materials? They aren’t exactly reusable.
Installing an Aqua-Barrier
By contrast, an Aqua-Barrier requires significantly less time and effort to set up. Simply determine the border of the worksite, unroll the barrier, and inflate it. Best of all, you can combine the dewatering process with the initial setup since the barrier fills full of water! Just put the displaced water into your cofferdam. Though the exact time required to inflate the cofferdam varies, an 8ft x 100ft Aqua-Barrier takes a mere 2 hours to fully inflate.
Save Time on Future Projects
Not only is an Aqua-Barrier the superior choice for your immediate needs, but it’s also a great way to save time on your future construction projects. If you opt for a conventional cofferdam, you’ll have to safely dispose of the building materials afterward since you’ll likely be unable to reuse or recycle them. This also means you’ll need to start from scratch the next time you need a cofferdam. Fortunately, an Aqua-Barrier is fully reusable!
Streamline Your Next Dewatering & Construction Job
While you can’t control everything that might contribute to a delay in your construction work, you can certainly control the amount of time you spend dewatering your worksite. An Aqua-Barrier can turn a days-long dewatering job into mere hours. Add one of these essential inflatable barriers to your construction equipment and save time with the quick Aqua-Barrier installation!
Connect with us for more tips and tricks on optimizing your construction work.
Cofferdams are a very effective way to provide dewatering solutions for a number of different projects. They can be utilized for construction sites, shoreline restoration projects, building bridges, and much more.
Each project’s specifications are extremely individual and can often change depending on the time of year and location. The experts at Water World, an influential online flood control industry news site, have provided 5 important aspects to consider when you begin your dewatering and cofferdam projects:
1. Depth and Flow
These conditions change from season to season. Water World suggests reviewing the timing of the project and consulting the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to gauge fluctuations in water levels at the site to determine the best timetable for the project.
“Turbidity requirements, contamination concerns, right-of-way restrictions, and time constraints for working in the water” are all items that may need permits or permission to conduct construction. Even though it is usually the responsibility of the project engineer to understand and obtain these permits, it is important for the contractor to know these as well.
3. Navigating the Subsurface
Water world suggests that knowing, “the silt levels, slopes, vegetation and composition of the subsurface” to determine the best cofferdam technology and specifications to meet the projects needs.
4. Contractor Experience
Because of the complexity of dewatering projects, it is important to hire contractors who have experience working in and around water. Experience affords the contractor the ability to understand and respond to changing conditions of the work site. They may have come across overlapping aspects in previous jobs to determine the best solutions for the current project.
5. Engineering and Design Criteria
The last aspect a contractor needs to know before beginning the dewatering project is the right cofferdam technology for the project and if the cofferdam’s construction cost meets specifications. “Further, he or she should conclude if the project calls for Professional Engineer Stamped Calculations. The contractor should be well-versed in dam safety protocol and standard operating procedures and also able to provide engineering support in an emergency.”
Understanding and utilizing each of these five tips can better prepare your project for a quick and efficient delivery. Hydrological Solutions is highly experience in dewatering projects, and understands the uniqueness of each site and the necessary processes for effective cofferdam installation.