Severe weather events like heavy rains, strong winds, and lightning storms can cost builders millions of dollars every year due to lack of preparedness. Severe weather events can also create safety risks for employees. A storm preparedness plan can minimize financial loss and ensure a safe job site during a severe weather event.

To protect your construction job sites and employees during severe weather, follow these 15 steps for creating a storm preparedness plan.

  1. Complete the following tasks daily:
    1. Clean the construction site.
    2. Take photos of the job site to record project progress before a storm hits.
    3. Monitor the weather frequently during the day.
  2. Builders should secure important documents in a safe place where water and fire cannot damage them.
  3. Review the building insurance policy for adequate storm coverage.
  4. When preparing a storm preparedness plan, contractors should consult with local building departments and officials, who can assist with public safety.
  5. In hurricane-prone areas, builders should establish a relocation plan so they can quickly move expensive equipment to safe ground.
  6. Plan for water and debris removal after a storm. For example, in flood-prone areas, have a pump at the job site to remove water quickly from a flooded job site.
  7. Protect your job site from strong winds:High winds can blow unwanted debris into the job site, move equipment around, and even compromise the integrity of a building. Several critical considerations when preparing a job site for severe winds include:
    • Select construction materials that stand up to severe winds, like Barricade® Wrap Plus. Barricade® Wrap Plus weather-resistant barrier (WRB) has the strength to withstand strong winds and resist damage during and after construction.
    • Secure and store loose construction materials and equipment, including everything from tools to portable bathrooms and dumpsters.
    • Anchor the roof panels on partially installed roofs.
    • Cover wall openings with tarps until the installation of fenestration.
    • Secure the roof decking.
  1. Protect your job site from heavy rains and water damage:Heavy rain during a severe weather event often causes water damage to buildings under construction. Preparing a construction site for heavy rain and flooding helps ensure the long-term integrity of the construction project. A few precautions when preparing a job site for heavy rains and potential flooding include:
    • Select water-resistant products that promote quick-drying, like Barricade® Wrap Plus, a high-quality vapor-permeable WRB. Applying Barricade® Wrap Plus over the sheathing and behind the siding creates a water-resistant building. However, during severe weather, some water may still get into the wall system. Fortunately, Barricade® Wrap Plus helps dry moisture quickly.
    • Install permanent and temporary drainage systems. In case of heavy rains or flooding, builders should routinely maintain and inspect drainage systems for obstructions. Always delay the installation of high-value subgrade equipment, such as electrical switchgear, until the operational drainage systems are working properly. If necessary, use temporary coverings to protect finished work.
    • Install finished products, such as flooring and drywall, only after closing window and door openings, securing the roof, and sealing the building envelope.
  1. Protect workers during a lightning storm:Lightning creates severe danger for those working in the construction industry. In the last ten years, 18 percent of deaths caused by lightning were work-related.
    • Identify a lightning-safe shelter at the job site that can safely accommodate all employees.
    • Workers should stop all activities, remove all metal objects from their person (including hats) as soon as they hear thunder, and seek shelter.
    • Workers should remain in the shelter for 30 minutes after they last hear the thunder.
  1. Secure or remove hazardous chemicals from the job site before a severe weather event. Also, have a third-party team lined up to perform proper cleanup if hazardous chemicals spill during a storm.
  2. Keep up with regular maintenance for electrical and mechanical equipment, along with an emergency power generator system. After a severe weather event, maintenance may become difficult to schedule.
  3. Require crew leaders to complete jobs in progress before starting new ones.
  4. Educate all the workers on the storm preparedness plan. Post the plan in an easily visible location for all workers to see.
  5. Establish a plan to notify job site workers of imminent severe weather. Identify and clearly mark a safe shelter for the workers to go to during a severe weather event. To ensure everyone’s safety, assign one worker to take a headcount at the storm shelter.
  6. Assign a team to conduct a post-storm evaluation of the job site. The evaluation should include notes and photographs. This information can help contractors determine when it is safe to begin cleanup and get back to work.


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These 15 steps will give you the foundation you need to create an effective severe weather preparedness plan for your construction project that will help keep your worksite and employees safe. The small investment of time and effort now could save you invaluable time and money in the event of a significant weather event.