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The wettest 18 months on record. Why it matters for construction.

The UK has been facing unprecedented weather patterns in the last 18 months, characterized by record-breaking rainfall of 1,695.9mm. This excessive rain has led to severe flooding and waterlogged fields, highlighting the country's vulnerability to water shortages due to inadequate management and infrastructure. Climate change is at the core of these extreme and unpredictable weather events, disrupting traditional farming practices, water storage methods and of course construction sites up and down the country.

Despite the abnormality of these weather patterns, the gradual acceptance of such conditions over the past few years had started to normalize them, a phenomenon known as "Shifting Baseline Syndrome." In this observed phenomenon; each generation adapts to a new baseline based on their experiences, leading to a sense of normalcy even in the face of unprecedented changes to the baseline. This is often cited when it comes to the destruction of nature. 

It seems as though every year brings with it expectations of heatwave summers and mild yet rainy winters, further emphasizing the changing climate trends. Trends that it can be easy to forget are inherently unpredictable. 

These past 18 months have served as a stark wake-up call. Instead of following a gradual and predictable trajectory, the weather patterns have been jumping wildly and erratically, causing significant challenges for both contractors and clients alike. This experience is one to remember lest we slip into complacency on the matter. 

This is why I'm writing this article, it's important for construction to pay attention. Patterns are getting wilder, much wilder and so our adaptation strategies should be more decisive and innovative to keep up. 

Blog post on wettest 18 months


Impact on Construction

The construction industry has not been spared from these extreme weather events. Prolonged rainfall and flooding have caused significant delays in project timelines. Waterlogged sites hinder ground preparation, foundation work, and material delivery. Moreover, frequent weather disruptions increase the risk of structural damage and necessitate additional safety measures, driving up costs. Contractors are forced to revise project schedules and budgets, impacting profitability and client satisfaction.

Delays in construction projects due to adverse weather conditions lead to extended timelines, increased labor costs, and potential penalties for late delivery. The unpredictability of weather patterns further complicates project management and planning, highlighting the need for advanced weather forecasting tools and adaptive construction strategies.

Contractors we've spoken to have not been able to include an appropriate amount of weather time risk allowance in schedule and so this has left them scrambling to try and claim back through contractual mechanisms. Often this isn't enough to cover he true extent of those losses. 

Weather is going to be an increasingly big eroder of profit on jobs, even if it doesn't result in a full loss. Its impact on your whole portfolio is probably already here but its no been noticed, until now. 

For more details on the impact of weather, read the Independent's article.


Broad Impact on Agriculture

Farmers across the UK are grappling with waterlogged fields, delayed planting, and reduced crop yields. For instance, essential crops like potatoes and onions have been severely impacted, leading to an extended "hungry gap." Livestock farmers face additional challenges, keeping animals indoors longer and dealing with disrupted breeding cycles. These conditions, exacerbated by rising input costs, threaten food security and highlight the urgent need for sustainable agricultural practices.

The excessive rainfall has also created logistical challenges for farmers. Waterlogged fields prevent the use of heavy machinery, delaying planting and harvesting schedules. Additionally, the extended wet conditions increase the risk of soil erosion and nutrient depletion, further impacting crop health and yields. The long-term financial strain on farmers, coupled with the rising costs of inputs like fuel and feed, underscores the vulnerability of the agricultural sector to climate extremes.

How many lessons from agriculture could have relevance to construction?

For more information on how UK farmers are coping with these challenges, visit The Guardian.



These events underscore the necessity for a proactive and innovative approach to weather risk management. At EHAB, we advocate for the integration of advanced weather models into your design, bidding, scheduling and risk analysis. By leveraging predictive analytics, we can enhance resilience in construction, ensuring long-term stability and productivity in the face of an increasingly volatile climate.

Embracing innovative adaptation strategies is crucial. The decision isn't about if, but when. The longer you delay this decision, the greater the risk of financial strain. It's wise to proactively adjust practices while you still have control.

To learn more about the importance of proactive weather risk management and sustainable practices, visit The London Economic.

By taking a forward-thinking approach, we can build a resilient future that adapts to the changing climate, protects our resources, and supports the needs of our communities.

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