Extreme weather events and construction SMEs:vulnerability, impacts and responses


Purpose – The UK experienced a number of Extreme Weather Events (EWEs) during recent years and a significant number of businesses were affected as a result. With the intensity and frequency of weather extremes predicted in the future, enhancing the resilience of businesses, especially of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), who are considered as highly vulnerable, has become a necessity. However, little research has been undertaken on how construction SMEs respond to the risk of EWEs. In seeking to help address this dearth of research, this investigation sought to identify how construction SMEs were being affected by EWEs and the coping strategies being used. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed methods research design was adopted to elicit information from construction SMEs, involving a questionnaire survey and case study approach. Findings – Results indicate a lack of coping strategies among the construction SMEs studied. Where the coping strategies have been implemented, these were found to be extensions of their existing risk management strategies rather than radical measures specifically addressing EWEs. Research limitations/implications – The exploratory survey focused on the Greater London area and was limited to a relatively small sample size. This limitation is overcome by conducting detailed case studies utilising two SMEs whose projects were located in EWE prone localities. The mixed method research design adopted benefits the research by presenting more robust findings. Practical implications – A better way of integrating the potential of EWEs into the initial project planning stage is required by the SMEs. This could possibly be achieved through a better risk assessment model supported by better EWE prediction data. Originality/value – The paper provides an original contribution towards the overarching agenda of resilience of SMEs and policy making in the area of EWE risk management. It informs both policy makers and practitioners on issues of planning and preparedness against EWEs.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/02630801111132795
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Engineering Systems and Supply Chain Management
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Sustainable environment research group
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Additional Information: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1926120&show=abstract. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: small and medium-sized enterprises,Construction industry,Snowfall,Rainfall ,Risk management,climate change,extreme weather,flooding,research method,case study,research methodology,mixed methods
Publication ISSN: 0263-080X
Full Text Link: http://www.emer ... 0&show=abstract
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PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2011
Authors: Wedawatta, Gayan (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8600-5077)
Ingirige, Bingunath
Jones, Keith
Proverbs, David



Version: Accepted Version

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