WEATHER’S IMPACT ON EXCAVATION

Everyone likes to complain about the weather, especially Prineville, where there can be extreme swings. However, few realize how important the weather can be to our economy.

Greenbar Excavation knows this well because our market is affected by all kinds of weather. We need to be able to predict how weather conditions will impact our projects before they happen and adapt our construction methods accordingly.

Sitework and earthmoving are two of the most common types of construction projects. We live in an area with all four seasons, so it is very unlikely that we would make it through a project without weather dictating our attention.

2018 – was a year where we had to put our weather-management skills to the test.

2018 – A RECORD-SETTING Year for Rain

2018-  was Prineville’s wettest year. The county received a total of 61 inches of rainfall in 2018. This is more than Seattle. Sometimes it felt like the weather was never going to end. Rainy days became rainy weeks with the longest streak lasting 11 days.

This wet year is what you will remember if you lived in Lancaster in 2018. However, everyone was aware of the economic impact that it had on the area.

Construction projects can be affected by wet weather, particularly the excavating section. Greenbar Excavation faced significant challenges during this wet year due to the 61 inches we received (to put it in perspective, that’s almost a half-millionth of the average rainfall of 41inches).

WHAT IMPACTS RAIN ON SITEWORK AND EXCAVATING?

Construction workers are a hearty bunch. It is part of the job to work outdoors in all weather conditions. If it rains frequently and heavily, construction work may have to be halted until the weather improves.

The biggest problem is lost time, both in terms of project schedules and crew hours worked. It is possible for rain to shut down job sites for whole weeks during extremely wet periods. Flooding can cause soil to become saturated, rendering sitework almost impossible if it happens repeatedly in a short period.

Equipment, crews and superintendents can also be affected by excessive rainfall. Teams often have to stop their equipment to shovel the tracks and attend to construction entrances. The extra time required to ensure they can continue moving around a site can reduce productivity, increase costs, and slow down a job’s progress.

Many excavators plan for wet conditions, and take into account the weather when planning and estimating. But the weather can change dramatically from year to year and it is not always predictable. The 2018 excavation industry was hit hard by the unexpectedly wet year. Mother Nature sometimes reminds us who really is in charge.

WIND’S EFFECTS ON EXCAVATING SITEWORK

Heavy winds can cause damage, from power lines being downed to flying debris. As with heavy rains and strong winds, construction projects can be affected by sustained gusts and delays can occur.

Operation on a construction site may be stopped if dirt, dust, or aggregate is being blown away. Dump trucks and other equipment may not be safe to use as strong winds could blow or tip the truck’s loads.

Excavators must take all precautions to keep everyone safe in heavy winds. It is best to put off tasks that could be dangerous in windy conditions. However, with proper planning and problem-solving, you can still complete the project smoothly after the storm passes.

EXTREME TEMPERATURES CAN IMPACT SITEWORK AND EXCAVATING MANAGEMENT

Excavating can also be affected by extreme cold or extremely hot temperatures. If they are not properly protected, cold weather and ice can cause damage to water pipes and other equipment. Sometimes, work can’t continue if there is snow or cold. Although hard frozen ground won’t necessarily stop your project, it might take more time for the team to complete their task.

If workers don’t take the necessary safety precautions, they could be exposed to heat and cold temperatures. Workers may feel awkward and bulky if they bundle up in cold weather. This can slow down their productivity. Extreme heat can make workers feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Workers may need to work slower in order to stay safe.

Although some winters can be colder than others, some summers are warmer. However, skilled excavating teams have the experience to work in extreme temperatures and plan for these delays.

HOW TO MINIMIZE OR AVOID WEATHER-RELATED PROJECT DELIVERY

If you live in an area where the changing seasons mean a significant change in the weather, it is likely that your project will be halted if the weather changes significantly. Although you cannot control the weather, it is possible to control who your project team members are.

Your project’s success will depend on partnering with an experienced excavator who can deal with weather. Greenbar Excavation has been dealing with unpredictable weather since its inception in 1961. Greenbar Excavation has learned from past experiences how important it is for us to be prepared for the unexpected. These contingency plans allow us to adapt to mother nature’s unexpected curveballs and get your project back on track quickly.

Greenbar Excavation was tested by 2018’s record rains. We came out the other side with all of our projects successfully completed. Although we couldn’t have foreseen such a wet year in advance, our dedicated and experienced team was able to adjust quickly and keep our projects moving along smoothly.

This post was written by Tanner Brown. Tanner is the Owner and operator of Greenbar Excavation. Greenbar Excavation is a fully licensed, insured, and accredited Excavation company based in Prineville, Oregon. Greenbar Excavation is one of the top companies for Septic pumping in Central Oregon. Don’t look further, go with the company with your best interest in mind!

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