Storm Barra set to disrupt construction sites across the UK

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Contractors should prepare construction sites against humidity risks posed by heavy rain and snowstorms, warns Matt Watson, Moisture Control Expert for Aggreko Northern Europe

Just weeks after Storm Arwen wreaked havoc across the UK, the Met Office has issued a yellow warning for high winds and severe weather caused by Storm Barra.

Households are still without power thanks to Storm Arwen and this new storm will bring even more disruption to the power supply.

Invisible water risk

The damage does not stop there. Storm Barra will put construction sites at risk of long-term damage caused by moisture seeping into building materials from snow and rain, also known as ‘invisible water’.

Moisture Control Expert, Matt Watson, is advocating for a more controlled process to remove moisture from affected sites, including the use of dehumidification equipment.

He highlights that by tightly regulating environmental conditions, site managers can ensure work can continue safely without the increased risk of invisible water.

Damage to materials

“December has always been a taxing month for facility and site managers, and Storm Barra could pose significant operational challenges.”

“This includes damage to materials such as wood, plaster and paint, which can hamper increasingly tight project deadlines. Harsh conditions like these, occurring almost immediately after the similarly severe Storm Arwen, stand to further disrupt these timescales.

Damage to structures

“Yet in the rush to restart operations after these events, contractors may look to ‘blast out’ moisture with heating, quickly drying out affected areas. Yet by doing so, invisible water that has soaked into materials will not be removed, which can result in expensive long-term damage to structures. This quick-heating process can also result in mould growth, placing both on-site personnel and long-term building occupants at risk.

“Extreme weather events are nothing new in this country, but climate change means these sorts of storm are becoming more frequent. Consequently, site managers must become more familiar with correct dehumidification processes if they are to navigate these complications without creating further concerns later down the line.

“Agility is required to address situations like these, and with COVID, skills and materials shortages squeezing capex budgets, hiring equipment such as dehumidifiers can allow for a swift response and keep building work on track.”

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