Summer Conditions – Considerations for minimizing impacts to your project

By AIA Contract Documents

March 31, 2024

We often talk about winter conditions, but what about summer conditions? As we move into the warmer months, projects are exposed to high temperatures and summer storms. These summer conditions can create health risks, impact equipment, reduce productivity, disrupt the supply chain, and impact work hours on a project site. Below are some considerations that you can make to prevent or minimize summer condition impacts to your budget and schedule.

Heat-related health risks. Is your workforce prepared to handle high heat while working on the jobsite? High temperatures during summer can pose health risks to construction workers, leading to heat stress, dehydration, and heat-related illnesses. To mitigate these risks, employers must implement measures such as providing adequate hydration stations, scheduling work during cooler times of the day, and allowing frequent breaks in shaded areas.

Reduced productivity. Are you finding opportunities for your crew to beat the heat (e.g., more frequent breaks, shade cover, etc.)? Extreme heat can lead to reduced productivity among construction workers due to discomfort, fatigue, and decreased concentration. This can result in delays in project timelines and increased labor costs.

Material performance. Are you making adequate adjustments to your construction methods? Certain construction materials, such as asphalt, concrete, and adhesives, can be sensitive to high temperatures. For example, concrete may set too quickly in hot weather, leading to cracking and reduced strength. Contractors may need to adjust construction methods, use shading or cooling techniques, or add additives to materials to mitigate these effects.

Equipment overheating. Is your equipment capable to handle the hottest part of the day? Heavy machinery and equipment used in construction, such as generators, compressors, and power tools, are susceptible to overheating in hot weather. This can lead to equipment malfunctions, breakdowns, and downtime, impacting project progress and increasing maintenance costs.

Increased risk of wildfires. Have you taken your work location into consideration when determining jobsite risks? In regions prone to wildfires, summer conditions can heighten the risk of fires spreading to construction sites. Contractors must implement fire prevention measures, such as clearing debris, maintaining firebreaks, and having firefighting equipment on site, to minimize the risk of damage to property and disruption to construction activities.

Supply chain disruptions. Do you have adequate plans in place to address adverse summer weather? Summer conditions, such as extreme heatwaves or hurricanes, can disrupt the supply chain for construction materials and equipment. Delays in material deliveries or shortages of essential supplies can impede construction progress and lead to cost overruns.

Work hour restrictions. Do you need to consider creative work hours? Some jurisdictions impose restrictions on construction work hours during summer months to protect workers from extreme heat exposure. Contractors may need to adjust work schedules, limit outdoor activities during peak heat hours, and implement additional safety measures to comply with these regulations.

Overall, summer conditions can present various challenges for construction projects, requiring proactive planning, effective risk management, and adherence to safety protocols to ensure successful project completion.

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AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.