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Prepared Your Construction Site For The Hurricane Season

AUGUST 28, 2018 BY ROBBY PEDRAZA

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In 2018, forecasters expect a slightly above-average hurricane season. There are 14 named storms, out of which seven are expected to become hurricanes, and three are expected to become major hurricanes.

Construction sites are all too vulnerable to a hurricane’s strong winds and heavy rain. With peak wind speeds that exceed 186 mph and rain that can pour down at an inch per hour, hurricanes can turn excavation sites and temporarily supported structures into nightmares.

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Checklist for Hurricane Preparedness

Document storage. Whether they contain numbers to contact in an emergency or project drawings, documents are critical. While most peoples’ important documents are stored on computers or the Internet, it’s vital to have hard copies of the same stored safely off-site and on-site.

Materials protection. Construction materials that cannot be moved before the hurricane need to be stored or covered so that they do not get damaged. Aside from storage space for vulnerable materials, it would also be necessary to get netting, banding materials and self-tapping concrete anchoring screws for materials that can’t be moved or stored safely. Uninstalled materials must also be stored securely. Conex containers and storage boxes are ideal for this purpose.

Chemicals must also be removed from the site, isolated or neutralized to prevent unexpected damage caused by release and reaction. Jobsite debris could become projectiles in a hurricane, so be prepared to remove debris and ensure the jobsite is cleaned regularly.

Removal of movable items. When possible, the following items should be removed:

  • -Scaffolding should ideally be removed, but if it’s not possible to do so, boards from scaffolds should be removed and stored away
  • -Mobile scaffolds should be secured to columns or placed in conex containers
  • -Banners, signs and fence screenings should be removed and stored
  • -Portable toilets should be removed or banded together and anchored
  • -Dumpsters should be removed to avoid high wind speeds that could carry trash to other areas

Preparing immovable structures

The general rule of thumb is to suspend work on projects that could be damaged by the storm, but to finish work if it would help minimize the damages caused from the storm. In addition, you can prepare by:

  • -Covering exterior openings like doors and windows with shutters and storm panels made of plywood or metal
  • -Bundling building materials that cannot be moved
  • -Installing and fortifying temporary bracing to the structure being built
  • -Dewatering pumps and generators to avoid water damage
  • -Allowing tower cranes to move with the wind so that minimum forces act on the crane, and lubricating the turntable
  • -Minimizing water infiltration into excavations

It is also a good idea to take pictures of the construction site before the hurricane so that you can get an idea of the extent of the damage.

Securing electrical and flammable items. Special care must be taken when it comes to securing electrical and flammable items in order to avoid damage to electronics and fires.                                                                                                 

  • -Keep devices fully charged for use
  • -Invest in a few portable chargers and battery packs in the event that power outages last longer than expected
  • -Remove or safely store all flammable materials
  • -Unplug computers and store them away at an elevated area, away from windows to avoid potential broken glass or water damage
  • -Cover all electrical gadgets with plastic bags and move them to a safe area such as an elevated area or isolated space to avoid water damage
  • -Cut off power at the circuit breakers and unplug all electrical equipment
  • -Shut down gas lines as close to the main line as possible
  • -Ensure fuel tanks are secured and protected from damage
  • -Fill all vehicles and emergency equipment with fuel

You should also check that fire protection systems and fire extinguishers are working.

The most dangerous thing to do is not to prepare adequately for a hurricane. If your construction site is in a vulnerable area like Florida or Texas, you need to take special  precautions to protect your site from potential damages.

Mobile Modular Portable Storage has been helping businesses prepare and recover from hurricanes with a range of steady, robust disaster relief storage containers. Check out more or request a quote on our site.

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