23rd December 2015

Winter Preparation Tips for the Construction Industry

Construction companies are known to experience difficulties during winter due to harsh weather conditions and holiday closures over Christmas. Therefore, we have prepared some tips to see you through to spring.

The UK’s unpredictable weather affects numerous businesses, as stated on, “adverse weather conditions prevent an estimated three million UK workers from completing their normal work responsibilities each year”. Issues arise when businesses fail to implement processes that ensure they can continue to function without being affected by unforeseen circumstances.

As weather has a major impact on every stage of a construction project from design and scheduling to hiring equipment, the Met Office has decided to launch a new and unique service that will provide bespoke weather reports. These Location Based Reports will provide a representation of actual construction site conditions and allow contractors to get weather reports specific to their site location. This will enable those in construction to identify potential downtime, develop contingency plans and negotiate realistic contracts. (Find out more on the Met Office website.) Along with utilising these reports, construction companies can prepare for the winter months with the following tips…

Preparation Tips

Create a strategy to improve performance.
Production and output in the construction industry tends to wind down during winter, which provides companies with the opportunity to analyse and evaluate performance, and identify potential issues that can be prevented in the year to come. In our 2016 construction predictions we explained how intelligent software solutions will become widely adopted, helping construction companies to obtain actionable insights and increase productivity. With the Government encouraging the adoption of innovative solutions it will be important to explore how new technologies can help you improve the performance of your business to remain competitive.

Organise your finances.
The construction industry is known to suffer from cash flow issues and late payments, which is why it’s imperative to create accurate forecasts ahead of time. Downtime over Christmas and winter provides you with the chance to identify how much cash your business will need to survive over the next year. Review your committed, accrued, and actual costs against budgets to understand your financial position and accurately forecast your cash flow for the year ahead.

Invest in your workforce.
People are your most valuable asset, which is why you should invest in your workforce. As construction slows, use this time to train and prepare staff for the coming year. This includes implementing new technologies to increase productivity, and enable your staff to find new ways of working that save them time and you money. Provide training to ensure staff have the necessary skills to utilise the hardware and software correctly as this will help you to fulfil contracts next year.

Have resources readily available to avoid delays.
Bad weather can delay the delivery of tools and materials that are vital for you to complete a project. These delays can have a detrimental effect on your business, but they can be planned for. Find out lead times from suppliers, if they’re longer than normal, you may need to order the tools and materials you require to continue working items well in advance. Alternatively you can source alternative items and suppliers to ensure you have back-ups that can fulfil your requirements.

Preparing for the future
Winter is the ideal time for construction companies to review their successes and failures in order to formulate a strategy to grow their business in the New Year. We know that a shortage of skilled workers, financial difficulties and project delays blight the industry, which is why it’s important to take measures to address these issues. In addition by seeking out new opportunities, investing in your workforce and new technologies you can have a positive impact on your business. See how our 2016 construction predictions could affect you.

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