The Climate Change Challenge of the Construction Industry

Anytime you turn on the news, you would be hard-pressed not to find a story talking about how climate change is affecting water levels, crops, and wildlife species. However, this shift in weather patterns is also having a monumental impact on construction businesses. From raising buildings to avoid flooding to implementing new practices, climate change has altered present-day construction. As the climate continues to change, the construction sector will be forced to continue its evolution. Here are some changes the construction world has already seen in the face of climate change.

Climate Change and Construction Worker Safety

One of the greatest concerns for construction companies is the safety of their workers. With flooding and excessive rainfall hitting a number of regions, these switches in weather patterns may create unsafe work environments. Construction sites may become slippier, work areas may become flooded, and equipment could end up destroyed by this inclement weather.

Aside from rising sea levels, we’re also getting accustomed to a jump in temperatures. That means construction workers are at higher risk of dehydration and heat stroke in the summer months.

Climate Change and Cost of Materials

Sure, sheetrock can be destroyed by a hurricane, and a loader can get stuck in unforeseen mud pits. However, climate change can be costly in ways that many construction companies don’t even consider. For instance, excess heat makes it harder for concrete to settle and for the paint to dry. As a result, jobs may become longer than initially anticipated.

In the same breath, construction season might last longer as well. Many highway jobs or building exteriors are renovated solely in the warmer months. While climate change is catastrophic for the rest of the world, it keeps construction companies busier for months of the year. That may seem like a nice perk. However, the number of jobs may become too much for one company to handle. That’s because climate change is also hurting buildings already standing.

Climate Change and Buildings of Today

Extreme temperatures may be detrimental to buildings already standing. That’s because high levels of heat can cause concrete, brick, and wood to crack. With climate change, we have discovered there are increased levels of carbon dioxide in the air. Higher levels of CO2 can penetrate walls, causing them to decay at a quicker pace.

Thanks to climate change, we might see more buildings, bridges, and other structures start to fall apart. One of the biggest challenges of construction companies is to work with materials that won’t aid the crisis but will also stand the test of time.

These demands are causing the construction industry to find more sustainable materials to work with like bamboo. Other companies are looking at bolting buildings into the foundation and putting up shear plate steel walls to combat the increase in earthquakes.

Between workplace safety, trying to save money on projects, and rebuilding structures, climate change is posing unique challenges to construction companies. That is why many companies are going green to find sustainable answers as fast as possible.

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