Flooding Causes Chaos on Construction Sites

The broad range of construction styles out there, as well as fluctuating levels of flood risks, means there are still many areas of site safety to be considered. Despite this, it is evident that the Construction field will likely experience an uptake of flood resilient materials soon. However, until more water resilient technologies are readily available, there are various methods that can be employed to minimise disastrous results from flooding.

Flood prevention methods – an overview.

A safe scheme of work must be planned before using any Construction Plant Equipment. The enforcement of health and safety policies on a Construction site is the responsibility of the construction firm in charge. Construction sites that are near to rivers or coasts are not the only sites at risk of flooding. All construction professionals can profit from assessing the flood risk on the site and developing a water management plan. Lack of a water management plan, in case of a flood, may result in expensive machinery being written off. Additionally, sites where sediment/silt run off could be a problem would benefit from creating an erosion and sediment control plan. This plan could comprise data including property boundaries and contour descriptions. With extra site details such as these, staff can be better prepared as to where to put equipment in case of a flood.

In order to assess the flood risks of a construction site, numerous factors must be considered. Watercourses near to the site and the flood history in the area must be researched.  Routes to water must be identified, as well as areas of potential erosion. These issues can be researched using flood maps. It is important to note, however, that even if there are no water sources nearby and the area has never flooded, it is to possible for a flood to occur.

Protecting Your Machinery and Materials

Machinery, where possible, should be moved to higher elevations. This is where it would be useful to be aware of past flooding history, as safe areas could be designated. For heavy machinery that can’t be transported to higher locations, exposed metal surfaces should be coated with grease. The grease will reduce the chances of rust formation caused by contact with water. It’s possible that flooding may lead to sediment run off, which in turn effects the contour of the land. This may lead to overturning, so it is important to ensure all heavy machinery is as stable as possible at all times.

Whilst materials such as concrete are water resilient, and steel construction material may not be damaged by water, other materials may be damaged. For example, plasterboard or composite wood will be damaged by water. Electrical and mechanical equipment will also need to be moved to safe locations if flooding is expected. Flooding is one of the few natural disasters that may come with a warning. If a flood is suspected, evaluate the materials that need to be kept dry. Portable barriers can also be erected in order to prevent damage from floods, such as sandbags or flood walls.

After flooding

If a Construction site has been affected by flooding, there are various things to remember:

•             Flood water may contain sewage and diseases. Do not wade in the water.

•             Water must be pumped out and drained before the Construction site can be entered.

•             Pressure washing is an efficient way of thoroughly cleaning Plant Equipment.

•             Electrical problems may not be evident straight away.

•             The steps you should follow after a flood varies on the machines and level of flooding.

•             An insurer and authorised machinery dealer should be consulted before attempting repairs.

•             Do not start any equipment until it is checked by a qualified mechanic.

•             Starting a flood-affected engine may lead to serious impairment to the internal engine mechanisms.

•             Consider using a water drainage pump.

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