This past summer is every contractor’s worst nightmare. Rainstorm after rainstorm kept projects from moving forward. A delay on one project easily leads to a delay on the next.

Weather is a big schedule risk on any type of project, but on any project that is outdoors, the risk is significantly increased.

Recently, Sportworks Field Design worked with a local client on design plans for their stadium. The unusually heavy rain meant the contractor couldn’t start until a week after he initially planned. Once he started, they worked for a few days and then additional rain meant they had to wait for the track to dry before resuming work because the track wouldn’t cure properly if the polyurethane was laid down on a wet surface. The contractor was working through the nights to catch up, when rubber that hadn’t been stored properly got wet and additional time had to be built in to let it dry.

Sometimes you have a plan, but Mother Nature just isn’t on your side.

So as the owner of a project, what can you do ahead of time to prepare for rain? Unfortunately, the best answer is often to set realistic expectations.

  1.  Ask a third party to help you set a realistic schedule.

At the beginning of a project, contractors are inclined to tell you they can get the work done quickly to ensure they win the job. A third-party, such as Sportworks Field Design, can help prepare you for what a bad weather schedule might realistically look like.

  1.  Be prepared for delays.

Athletic directors working with a school board, for instance, should be cautious about making too many promises that weather prevents them from keeping. Set expectations ahead of time.

  1.  Plan for contingencies early on, so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Of course everyone wants to play the first game of the season on their bright and shiny new field, but what if weather causes delays? Where will you play the first game? What about if the field isn’t done in time for team photos? It’s easier to be prepared early on.

Of course we wish we were writing an article about how to prevent weather from interfering in your project in the first place — and if you figure out the answer to that question, let us know — but by setting realistic expectations you can avoid some of the pain caused by a schedule based on perfect weather.