Building, Construction and Civil Engineering Contracts

construction600Automatic Weather Stations are increasingly used to provide a log of prevailing weather conditions during long-term construction projects such as those associated with large building or civil engineering works.

It can be very useful for project management to have a detailed record of weather conditions to show periods when construction was impeded, for example, by very wet or very cold conditions.

Please note that a general-purpose weather station such as we describe here is not intended to be used as a primary indicator of whether specific weather conditions such as wind speed are within acceptable limits for any safety-critical work to go ahead or not. Such applications require specially-certified instrumentation.

General Requirements

The main requirements for a weather station suitable for use in a construction project are fairly straightforward to list:

  • The station should monitor:
    • Air temperature;
    • Wind speed and direction;
    • Rainfall
    • (The above four weather parameters will be sufficient for many circumstances, but specific projects may call additionally for monitoring of eg humidity, sunshine and UV intensity and additional temperature readings, all of which are well within the capabilities of the more flexible stations we describe here, when fitted with appropriate add-on sensors;
  • It should show an instant read-out of current weather conditions;
  • It should be linkable to a PC such that a permanent, long-term and detailed log of weather conditions can be stored automatically on the PC, with records, for example, every 10 minutes of every day. But, in general, there will be no requirement to run an automatically-updating live weather website;
  • The station should offer a good balance between accuracy, reliability and cost;

Recommendations

stationOne of the standard Davis Vantage stations is an excellent fit for this sort of application, providing good performance at a highly cost-effective price. The basic configuration of all Davis stations is similar and is as follows (images show Vantage Vue station):

consoleA set of weather sensors are mounted in a representative and suitably exposed position outdoors on the site and this sensor assembly passes its data either by a cable or wireless link to a (non-weatherproof) display console which sits in a convenient place in a site office. The display console is fitted with a Weatherlink data logger that is connected in turn to a nearby PC. If this PC is left on permanently then the weather data can be logged fully automatically by the PC. Alternatively, the weather data can be allowed to accumulate in the data logger for a period of time, such as a day or a week, and then downloaded on command for permanent storage on to the PC. (NB For wireless links to be used between weather sensors and display console there needs to be a suitable signal path with a maximum range of up to 100-150m.)

We can suggest three distinct station configurations suitable for different circumstances and requirements:

  • The Vantage Vue station (wireless-only) is the simplest and lowest-cost option. This is ideal where all required weather readings can be made at a single sensor position and where a wireless data link is feasible. This is a no-frills solution but one which is perfectly capable for straightforward weather monitoring. A Vue system, complete with Weatherlink data logger and software, is available for £399 + VAT + shipping (excluding optional mounting accessories);
  • The Cabled Vantage Pro 2 station: The Vantage Pro 2 (VP2) stations offer more flexibility in sensor mounting and sensor expandability, so that for example the anemometer can be mounted up high to register maximum wind speeds, while other measurements are made, more accurately, closer to ground level. The cabled version of the VP2 is obviously more suitable for sites where a cable connection can be run between sensors and display console but where a wireless data link might encounter problems. A cabled VP2 system, complete with Weatherlink data logger and software, costs £618 + VAT + shipping (excluding optional mounting accessories). More details of all the VP2 stations, both cabled and wireless versions, will be found in the VP2 area of the main product pages;
  • The Wireless Vantage Pro 2 station: General details of the wireless VP2 are as for the cabled VP2 but obviously with the difference of a wireless link between sensors and display console. The wireless VP2 systems are the most powerful and flexible in the range – they allow the range between sensors and console to be extended by means of wireless repeaters and can be fitted with various supplementary sensors, if required. A wireless VP2 system, complete with Weatherlink data logger and software, costs from £718 + VAT + shipping (excluding optional mounting accessories).