Natural Disasters’ Impact on Construction in the United States

Construction workers cleaning up storm debris

Guidelines For Reviewing the Impact of a Disaster, Mitigating Losses and Planning for Future Disasters

December 14, 2020
Robert S. Peckar & Crystal T. Dang - Construction Executive

In these times of easy and instant access to news from around the globe, the effects of major earthquakes in Indonesia and Mexico, cyclones in Southeast Asia, Tsunamis around the world, volcanoes in Europe in unexpected places and, of course, raging forest fires and hurricanes in the United States are frequently in the news. Accompanying each of these disasters are immediate threats to construction projects, both physical and those affecting the safety and health of personnel.

However, after the dust settles or the waters recede, myriad issues will become obstacles to the road to recovery for a contractor to navigate. In 2020 alone, the volume of strong storms and forest fires have focused so much attention on the impact of disasters. The purpose of this article is to provide guidelines in anticipation of disasters, for reviewing the impact of a disaster as it is happening, and developing a mitigation plan to limit losses.

Anticipating Disasters

The best time to prepare for a disaster on a project is before the project starts. Reviewing contract rights, insurance policies and company disaster response protocols while a category 3 hurricane is a day away is not a best practice. To avoid falling into that situation, a contractor should follow the following guidelines. Doing so facilitates proper action during the actual disaster itself and in the aftermath.

Reprinted courtesy of Robert S. Peckar & Crystal T. Dang, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Mr. Peckar may be contacted at
Ms. Dang may be contacted at


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