Ask Angela: How can we prepare a construction site for summer storms?

Angela Phillips has been with ZTERS for nearly a decade and answers your questions here on the website. Have a question? Reach out through our Facebook page or DM us on Instagram or Twitter.

Dear Angela, it seems like summer storms catch us by surprise each year and we lose time and money from materials being damaged or flooding and water damage to the site. Is there anything we can do to prep the site in advance?

Thanks for your question. Every year we help people recovering from summer storms, whether it’s extra dumpsters and porta potties or storage containers and temporary office trailers. There are a few things you can do to prep your site in early summer to help mitigate damage from extreme weather. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Secure your materials. We know lumber and material costs have been out of control for the last year, so you may already be storing all your supplies in locked storage containers. If you’re not, invest in enough storage to house all your tools and supplies. Containers aren’t completely weatherproof, but they do go a long way toward keeping your materials and tools safe and dry during the hot, wet summer months.
  • Properly install dumpsters and storage containers. On a related note, make sure you’ve installed your dumpsters and containers on concrete, gravel, a plywood base, or some kind of level, hard surface. We’ve seen too many examples of people placing dumpsters and containers on bare, dry ground only to have them sink inches or feet into mud after a hard rain. Good luck getting a full storage container out of the mud. You’ll be waiting weeks — and paying rental fees that whole time — waiting for the ground to dry out enough to move the dumpster or container.
  • Keep the area clean. Strong winds can turn anything into a projectile, and a construction site is full of potential dangers. Make sure crews are keeping the site clean and do a “storm check” at the end of every day. Even small items can be picked up by a gust of wind and cause damage or harm in a strong storm. Pack everything away in storage containers or in trucks at the end of each day.
  • Make a plan for flooding. It’s pretty much inevitable there’s going to be at least one storm per summer that causes flooding. Have a plan and communicate it to everyone on your team. This might include always having sandbags on hand, having extra plywood for boarding up windows, having a water pump on site, and making sure you have a written plan for checking on crew members after a storm. Part of your plan should be assigning post-storm responsibilities, including someone who can check on the jobsite as soon as it’s safe, and a first-response crew to handle debris removal and water pump operation, if needed.

Most importantly, stay on top of the weather. You mentioned storms have caught you by surprise in the past, and that’s not uncommon. Set up weather alerts on your phone or tablet and keep an eye out for potential flooding dangers. With some prep work and planning, you can help your crew and your site recover from summer storms.

When summer weather hits, you can always call your ZTERS account manager to help source additional dumpsters, toilets, and other services when you need them. We’ll do our best to get you back up and running when the danger has passed.