Aggreko sounds humidity risk warning

By Dominic Ellis
Construction professionals must consider the long-term damage caused by ‘invisible water’ at this time of year, warns Aggreko expert

Construction professionals must consider the long-term damage caused by ‘invisible water’ this month – with moisture seeping into building materials from snow and rain – and create more robust site dehumidification strategies.

That's the warning from Matt Watson, Moisture Control Expert for Aggreko Northern Europe, as construction sites must be braced against humidity risks posed by extreme weather.

“December has always been a taxing month for construction professionals, as the weather can pose significant operational challenges,” he said. “This includes damage to materials such as wood, plaster and paint, which can hamper increasingly tight project deadlines. Storm Arwen, and the further extreme weather that meteorologists are predicting will occur this month, stand to further disrupt these timescales."

He added that, in the rush to restart operations after these events, contractors may look to ‘blast out’ moisture with heating, quickly drying out affected areas. "Yet by doing so, invisible water that has soaked into materials will not be removed, which can result in expensive long-term damage to structures. This quick-heating process can also result in mould growth, placing both on-site personnel and long-term building occupants at risk," he added.

In order to combat such risks, Watson advocates a more controlled process to remove moisture from affected sites, including the use of dehumidification equipment. Specifically, he highlights that by more tightly regulating environmental conditions, site managers can ensure works can safely continue without the increased risk imposed by invisible water.

“Extreme weather events are nothing new in this country, but climate change means they are becoming more frequent,” Matt concludes. “Consequently, site managers must become more familiar with correct dehumidification processes if they are to navigate these complications without creating further concerns later down the line.

“Agility is required to address situations like these, and with COVID, skills and materials shortages squeezing capex budgets, hiring equipment such as dehumidifiers can allow for a swift response and keep building work on track.”

The global dehumidifier market size is expected to reach US$5.9 billion by 2028, according to a new report by Grand View Research. Inc. The market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 7% over the forecast period, from 2021-2028. The increasing demand for dehumidifiers, especially for industrial applications that require optimum temperatures and humidity levels, is the key factor driving growth.

Last month Morgan Sindall Construction agreed a new collaboration with Aggreko in an effort to decarbonise construction sites across the UK (click here). Aggreko will provide Morgan Sindall Construction with a range of green alternatives to traditional on-site power generation, including load-on-demand systems that power up or down automatically according to demand, and can be deployed in place of a main generator to reduce net emissions and fuel usage.

In October, IBM announced a suite of environmental intelligence software that leverages AI to help organisations prepare for and respond to weather and climate risks that may disrupt business, more easily assess their own impact on the planet, and reduce the complexity of regulatory compliance and reporting.

The World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report states that the highest likelihood risks of the next ten years are extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage; as well as digital power concentration, digital inequality and cybersecurity failure.

"Although lockdowns worldwide caused global emissions to fall in the first half of 2020, evidence from the 2008–2009 Financial Crisis warns that emissions could bounce back. A shift towards greener economies cannot be delayed until the shocks of the pandemic subside."

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