In most lines of work, changes in the weather don’t mean the difference between life or death, financial disaster or productivity. In construction, however, weather can dictate drastic shifts in success and safety. With the kind of tools and equipment in use on a jobsite, a safe, controlled environment can become very hazardous if the wrong weather was to strike. WeatherBuild, helmed by thought leader and industry veteran Adam Omansky together with Applied Invention, is tackling this issue head-on.
WeatherBuild is a comprehensive suite of weather-enabled decision support solutions that give contractors, owners, and operators situational awareness and actionable information regarding impending weather and how it affects the jobsite. In a recent feature set release, the company implemented further risk management tools, including real-time, hyper-local lightning strike detection alerts, and all-clear notifications. This, of course, means that WeatherBuild brings much more sophisticated, business-grade solutions to the table than opening the generic weather app on one’s phone or deciphering massive amounts of raw weather data.
“Teams in the field were looking at consumer weather apps like Yahoo Weather and then struggling to connect the dots between the generic weather forecasts and the complex project schedules, which contain hundreds, if not thousands, of interdependent, interrelated activities,” explained Omansky when discussing the industry before WeatherBuild. “In many cases, managers would send out email blasts to project teams and use guesswork, or what they called ‘folk wisdom’ or ‘tribal knowledge’ to make decisions.”
This guesswork led to slowdowns and shutdowns, safety near-misses and recordable incidents, and monthly milestones missed across the industry. Instead of better preparing for inclement weather, the industry opted to file weather delay claims with owners and wait out the storm — literally.
Hence, Omansky, who had previously successfully guided Vela Systems, a leading field management and field BIM software, to being acquired by Autodesk, saw a major problem facing his industry and a space ripe for innovation. Big construction could handle weather better, similarly to how big agriculture now leverages “ag tech” for decision-making to help ensure successful and profitable growing seasons.
“On sites outdoors, work centers around weather,” explained a safety manager at Skanska. “We need to be part meteorologist for both operations and safety. WeatherBuild enables us to eliminate the guesswork about weather events, schedule impacts, and safety risks.”
In their latest feature set, WeatherBuild’s enhancement of lightning tools continues the company’s endeavor to create actionable information jobsites can prepare around. “Our customers will now have the alerts to enable outdoor project teams and work crews ample time to evaluate risks, stand down, and seek shelter,” Omansky said. “Thunderstorms and lightning threaten the life safety of all outdoor operating personnel and can significantly damage permanent built assets, such as wind turbines, and temporary construction aids, such as heavy equipment.”
The new feature set allows for real-time, hyper-local lightning strike detection alerts and all-clear notifications to be delivered automatically, fully customized to the needs of the jobsite at hand, such as weather emergency action plans (EAPs).
As always, safety remains an utmost concern across jobsites worldwide. The tools, machinery, and protocols in use on each jobsite are designed, and ever-improved, to ensure each worker goes home at the end of every day. In the midst of an industry-wide work shortage, it’s also imperative that the work being performed is efficient and on schedule.
WeatherBuild can’t control the weather, but it can help teams take control of its impacts, both threats and opportunities — keeping workers safe and productive and helping managers mitigate weather risks. It’s only one part of a complex puzzle of solutions that need to fit together perfectly. It can, however, eliminate physical and financial risks that arise when the weather gets rocky. Until now, such an elegant solution just didn’t exist. That’s one piece of the larger puzzle that contractors can fill right now.
BuiltWorlds partnered with WeatherBuild to bring you this article.