Job site hazards, how to prevent and treat them?

Even if all construction professionals dread them, the hazards of construction sites are an integral part of their lives. Whether we like it or not, no credible project manager or construction manager can boast of carrying out a job site renovation or a job site construction project without its share of unexpected events. In fact, it is the way in which they will be approached and especially treated that will determine their capacity of nuisance.

For that, there are some rules and tricks to manage your job site that will allow you to face all the setbacks.

job siteFirst, we'll look at what a hazard is, and which ones are likely to impact the business. Then, we will go on to talk about the most important: how to deal with a contingency from job site ? How to limit these risks? These are the questions we will answer.

What is a hazard of job site ?

The hazards of job site correspond to all the setbacks that can disrupt the smooth running of a job site. They have an impact on the deadlines by affecting the provisional work schedule. But also on the budget with, possibly, additional indispensable work to be carried out, which will generate an increase in costs and delay. These unforeseen events can be avoided with appropriate measures. However, others are beyond our control and cannot be avoided. In this case, alternative solutions must be found.

Weather-related setbacks are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about construction. Indeed, a heat wave or on the contrary torrential rains can affect the life of a job site. But there may also be other natural causes such as problems concerning the nature of the soil. Thus, geotechnically hazardous soils can create major problems. Thus, to remedy this type of setback in part, Article 68 of the Élan law requires a preliminary soil study in areas exposed to a medium or strong hazard in terms of clay shrinkage and swelling. A good example of this type of hazard is the delay caused by elements that were not present in the DICT, such as an unexpected sheath or hard rock. And in renovation sites, it is the discoveries made during the demolition that can reveal unavoidable works to be added.

Other upstream phenomena can constitute obstacles. Delays in administrative procedures are a good example of this type of hazard. Similarly, poor communication between the different teams of service providers generates longer delays, both before and during the job site. In the same vein, an inefficient work organization will produce the same effects, particularly with a task planning that is not optimized. The failure of a subcontractor during the life of the job site project, with the concern of replacing the subcontractor at short notice, could also have an impact on deadlines and costs.

Finally, problems of security of goods and people are also possible hazards. Indeed, a theft of materials or equipment on job site can considerably hinder the smooth running of job site with new deliveries to be scheduled or equipment rental to be booked to compensate. Similarly, work accidents cause delays and unforeseen additional costs, even in the case of simple accidents without dramatic consequences.

It is therefore essential to deal effectively with these disturbing hazards.

How to deal with an unforeseen event at job site ?

Some of the contingencies we have listed for you can be avoided altogether if precautions have been taken beforehand. Others can be minimized in their negative effects if processes have been put in place. In any case, the golden rule in this matter can be summed up in one word: anticipation.

Prepare well for the job site

The more you identify all the potential setbacks, the less you will be caught off guard and the less impact they will have.

Already, several issues can be totally eliminated with a good preparation. Thus, a rigorous selection of providers will avoid their failures. A reliable company, established for a long time and known for the quality of its work should not find itself in a situation of bankruptcy overnight.

Regarding administrative delays, submitting applications as early as possible and ensuring that all necessary documents have been attached will greatly reduce this risk. It is best to call the relevant departments in advance to obtain further information on processing times and document requirements. In the same way, a soil survey is recommended to avoid any unpleasant surprises, even when it is not a legal obligation.

A rigorous security policy will also prevent many setbacks, even if there is no such thing as zero risk. Securing job site is a step that will not prevent theft for sure, but it is a useful and effective precaution. Similarly, increased vigilance in the prevention of work-related accidents can potentially reduce the risk of accidents. And in all cases, putting in place accident response processes can limit the severity of accidents. Initiating a systematic consideration of a safety point during meetings at job site is also an approach that gives recognized results. Setting the objective of constant vigilance regarding the strictest compliance with safety rules will also bear fruit.

Furthermore, a flawless organization will leave as little room as possible for chance and therefore for unforeseen events.

Even if weather hazards are difficult to avoid, positioning a start date for job site that corresponds to the best possible conditions for the type of work is essential. Preparing applicable fallback solutions is also a good alternative.

The second fundamental point to overcome every hazard lies in the quality and frequency of communication between field teams and the administrative and financial departments.

Have very good communication between field and office

Indeed, in order to minimize or at least inform the delays and additional costs generated by the hazards, it is imperative to react immediately. This is why good and quick communication between the field and the office will always allow a welcome reactivity. For example, sending photos or videos can support an description of the problems encountered. In the same way, reliable information from the field will feed quality reports to justify additional work to be invoiced to the project owner.

Today, thetracking tool from job site Kraaft is a perfect way to communicate and track your job site in real time. The application has been entirely designed to facilitate communication between field and office teams. It allows you to keep track of all the hazards you may encounter in order to rightly value them to your customer.

Conversely, the administrative services have a duty to pass on the information they hold that is likely to have an impact on the life of the job site. For example, an authorization that is likely to be delayed may postpone the start of a work phase. Or the arrival of new temporary workers as reinforcements requires the safety manager to pay particular attention to informing them of the safety rules to be observed. Not to mention the personal protective equipment (PPE) to be provided.

In short, each party, at its own level, must inform its partners of any delay, incident or modification. And this, as soon as possible and preferably, with tools allowing traceability. In this sense, equipping oneself with adapted telephones from job site or tablets with applications dedicated to the follow-up of job site or specialized messaging systems for the actors of the construction industry can prove to be a judicious investment within the framework of certain activities.


You will have understood that, even if setbacks are inherent to the profession and inevitable when it comes to construction or renovation sites, the key is to know how to manage them. It is advisable, when drawing up an estimate, to include in the budget an amount that will allow for these inconveniences. It is customary to reserve about 3% of the total budget for contingencies. But to be as close as possible to your needs, an analysis of the budgets of previous projects allows you to account for the additional costs caused by unforeseen events and therefore to plan for the same average percentage so as not to suffer financial losses. With an effective planning which anticipates at the maximum all the incidents likely to intervene and foresees the solutions, and a very reactive communication between the various services of the company, contingencies will not represent any more a nightmare but a simple stage which any professional will know how to cross with ease.



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