In 2020, there were 22 weather and climate disasters, each totaling over $1 billion in financial damages. The total cost was over $95 billion in damages to homes, businesses, and other infrastructure for the year.
Texas has experienced this firsthand, from ongoing flooding issues to the big freeze in February 2021. As we head into June and hurricane season, 2021 is predicted to be another above-average year. Due to the surge in preseason storms, hurricane season may start earlier next year. The National Hurricane Center is contemplating a change from May 15th instead of June 1st as the official start date for hurricane season.
The increase in weather and climate disasters is an opportunity for the construction industry to help prepare communities for the challenges they will face from increased severe weather activity due to climate change.
Residential Housing Shortage
Like the rest of the United States, Texas is in the middle of a severe housing shortage. A problem that started during the great recession of 2008 and has been hastened by the rise in work from home during the pandemic. Continued access to low-interest rates makes financing a new home affordable for many buyers, leading to increased pressure on the housing supply.
The construction industry needs to plan for increased storm activity when building new houses and developments in response to the housing shortage. It’s critical for the population’s health and safety to reduce the risk of power outages during severe weather. Below-ground solutions may be a worthwhile investment to reduce power and internet outages from extreme weather emergencies.
Reverse Rural Population Loss
Rural communities have struggled with population loss over the past decade. As technology advances, rural communities are being left behind with reduced broadband infrastructure. These communities could be ideal locations for remote work; however, the lack of broadband access makes this less desirable.
The American Jobs Plan calls for the expansion of high-speed broadband service to all Americans. Currently, more than 35% of rural Americans lack high-speed broadband access. The construction industry needs to expand its workforce to accomplish this goal. Those newly employed in the industry need to be educated about the environmental concerns of digging in rural areas.
Retrofit Low-Income Housing
The increase in severe weather due to climate change has led to a rise in insurance costs. Low-income housing and older residential structures need frequent, sometimes high-cost, repairs to mitigate storm damage. For some, the expenses are becoming too much, forcing people to live in a state of disrepair.
An exciting opportunity for the construction industry is to provide renovations and retrofits to make low-income housing more resistant to storm damage. In the process, these retrofits can make homes more eco-friendly, helping reduce carbon emissions.
Commercial Structure Considerations
The increase in climate change-related severe weather is causing businesses to be more proactive in their disaster planning. They are identifying potential structural risks to health and safety before extreme weather strikes. The construction industry is well poised to partner with businesses to address any potential hazards they discover. Together, adjustments made will help companies avoid disruption due to weather damage.
The increased storm frequency creates more wear and tear on commercial properties. These structures have a reduced lifespan and might be at an increased risk of collapse. As building health declines, the structure is harder pressed to withstand extreme weather. Leaders in the construction industry should recognize the opportunity for improvement this creates.
Cities, Municipalities, and Other Governmental Entities
The past year of weather and climate disasters highlights the cost of not protecting our infrastructure. Cities, municipalities, and other government entities will be looking for experts in the construction industry to partner with to reduce the stressors on our already frail infrastructure ecosystem.
This year’s events have shown just how important protecting and updating the power grid is for the health and safety of every Texas community. Expansion of green power is only one aspect to consider. Below-ground electrical conduits offer unique advantages and protections for certain communities.
Cities looking to attract top talent and maintain population growth need to invest in broadband access. They face the unique challenges of placing new broadband cables in territories that may have a lot of surrounding infrastructure. These communities should look to partner with construction experts to tackle complex operations safely.
BoreWorx is Your Project Partner
BoreWorx is your full-service horizontal directional drilling firm offering services for electrical, security, digital signage, EV charging, and fiber optics. When you partner with us, you get an experienced team committed to completing your project in a safe, timely, and cost-effective manner. We’ll complete your project fast, thanks to our digital planning process. You’ll get safe, efficient, and cost-effective boring no matter what surface, soil, or underground condition we face. For more information, contact us today at 281-494-7500.