Coping with Extreme Weather: Strategies of Construction SMEs

Gayan Wedawatta, Bingunath Ingirige

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Weather extremes have created a considerable impact on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK during the recent years, especially on SMEs in the construction sector. Evidence in relation to the recent weather extremes have demonstrated that SMEs are some of the worst impacted by the Extreme Weather Events (EWEs) and have confirmed them as a highly vulnerable section of the UK economy to the impact of extreme weather. This is of particular importance to the construction industry, as an overarching majority of construction companies are SMEs who account for the majority of employment and income generation within the industry. Whilst construction has been perceived as a sector significantly vulnerable to the impacts of EWEs, there is scant evidence of how construction SMEs respond to such events and cope with their impact. Based on the evidence emerged from case studies of construction SMEs, current coping strategies of construction SMEs were identified. Some of the strategies identified were focused at organisational level whereas others were focused at project level. Further, some of the strategies were general risk management / business continuity strategies whereas others have been specifically developed to address the risk of EWEs. Accordingly, coping strategies can be broadly categorised based on their focus; i.e. those focused at project or organisational level, and based on the risks that they seek to address; i.e. business / continuity risks in general or EWE risk specifically. By overlapping these two aspects; their focus and risks that they seek to address, four categories of coping strategies can be devised. There are; general risk management strategies focused at business level, general risk management strategies focused at project level, EWE specific strategies focused at business level, and EWE specific strategies focused at project level. It is proposed that for a construction SME to effectively cope with the impact of EWEs and develop their resilience against EWEs a rich mix of these coping strategies are required to suite the particular requirements of the business.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Construction in a Changing World
Subtitle of host publicationConference Proceedings
EditorsDilanthi Amaratunga, Richard Haigh, Les Ruddock, Kaushal Keraminiyage, Udayangani Kulatunga, Chaminda Pathirage
PublisherInternational Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781842196199
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2014

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Construction in a Changing World


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