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Tips for hot-weather construction projects

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Being involved in a construction project during a heatwave can be both challenging and exhausting.  If you intend to build a new home during a period where hot weather has been forecasted,  here are a couple of important factors you should take into consideration.

Stay safe

One of the biggest issues with having labourers working during high temperatures is that there is a much greater risk of heat exhaustion. Under other circumstances, this is not usually a serious problem, particularly if identified during its early stages. However, on a building site, many of the symptoms of this condition (namely, disorientation, lethargy and fainting) could result in a life-threatening injury, if the sufferer happens to be operating heavy machinery or working at a height at the time.

This is why it is important to speak to your contractor about taking measures to ensure that labourers remain hydrated and (where possible) out of direct sunlight throughout the work day.  It may be worth investing in canopies to provide people with a shaded place to complete smaller outdoor construction tasks. Additionally, if sheeting needs to be used on scaffolding, it should have an open weave, which won't cause heat to accumulate.  

As well as keeping everyone safe, these steps will reduce the chance of builders' productivity levels being negatively affected by the high temperatures.

Be aware of the impact of heat on building materials

Hot weather doesn't just affect labourers; it can also affect many of the construction processes too, particularly the placement and curing of concrete. If you intend to use this material for the foundation or walls of your home, it's important to be aware of how a heatwave may impact its usage.

Surface drying can be a big problem when the temperatures start to rise; this occurs when the heat of the sun speeds up the rate at which water evaporates from the surface of placed concrete. This in turn, can cause shrinkage and cracking.

If you're concerned about the possibility of surface drying or other concrete-related problems arising, then make sure to speak to your contractor; they may be able to take certain precautions to prevent such things from happening. For example, using larger-than-average aggregates (granular materials that act as filler in concrete) in the concrete mix can help to minimise shrinkage. Additionally, the contractor may suggest scheduling the placement of the concrete at a time when the sun will be at its weakest (i.e. early in the morning or late in the evening).