Highs of 41 degrees forecast for today, with outside chance of 43 degrees tomorrow
Sir Robert McAlpine has admitted it may be forced to close some sites because of the extreme heat forecast for today and tomorrow.
Record-breaking temperatures of 41 degrees have been predicted for later today with Tuesday’s high possibly getting up to 43 degrees, the Met Office’s chief executive told the BBC this morning. At 10AM the mercury was already close to 30 degrees in London and the South-east.
A McAlpine spokesperson said: “As we are in the midst of a record heat wave, we are carefully monitoring the situation to preserve the health, safety and wellbeing of the people who work for us.
“Any decision to close sites will be taken by project managers, with support from our health, safety and wellbeing team, on a case-by-case basis, depending on the activities scheduled on site.”
Laing O’Rourke has also suggested some of its jobs might have to be stopped as well.
A spokesperson for the firm added: “Wherever possible, we’ll prioritise those tasks that can be undertaken in cooler, shaded areas and, as temperatures are monitored, we will assess if any work needs to be temporarily halted.
“The actions will vary depending on the nature of the site and our project leaders will focus on the safety of their teams, adapting work as necessary.”
Liverpool contractor Downing Construction, which is working on a £400m mixed-use scheme in the middle of Manchester, said it would “act accordingly” if temperatures hit record levels.
Director Ian Orton said: “The two big projects we are working on are essentially in the ground and we have been advised by our specialist concrete sub-contractor that the operation will need to be shut down if we get to 28 degrees C.
“I think the issues would be more severe if you are working on the interior of a building, perhaps with no AC, but neither of our big projects are at that stage.”
Scores of contractors have been updating their guidance for working outdoors in the face of the forecasted temperatures.
Last week, the government issued the first ever national emergency red alert for heat for the first two days of next week.
The UK Health Security Agency increased the “heat-health warning” alert for England to level 4 – the highest possible – for today and tomorrow.
A red alert means a “national emergency” and is issued “when a heatwave is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system. At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups.”