Anyone who’s ever had a rodent infestation at home will understand the headache it causes – but if you thought that was bad enough, imagine facing an invasion from rats at your construction site.
It’s a nightmare situation all too familiar to the Belgian officials responsible for opening new road tunnels in Brussels. Earlier this year, they claimed progress had been halted after rats ate construction plans.
Whilst this does sound like a very extreme and public use of the classic ‘sorry, the dog ate my homework’ excuse, it also accurately points out one of the biggest issues that arises from pest control problems on a building site – namely, delays.
As rats and mice struggle to find shelter and food, they’ll happily gnaw their way through woodwork or burrow between joints, leaving heaps of expensive damage in their wake, as well as completely disrupting your schedule.
And, as Belgian officials discovered, it’s a complication investors aren’t likely to be sympathetic towards, particularly because it can be easily avoided with a few simple actions.
Here’s our top advice for minimising the impact of pests on your construction site.
#1: Deal with any current problems
If you’re working on a brownfield or a greenfield site, you may have already disturbed a population of rats or mice. In that case, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of an infestation. Chewed electrical cables – in fact, chewed anything – will be one of the most obvious indicators.
If you’re too late and they’ve already got a stronghold at your site, your only sure-fire tactic of getting rid of them is to hire an established rodent control company – they’ll also keep you on the right side of the law when it comes to dealing with protected species like bats.
#2: Protect your staff
Everyone knows that rats spread diseases, but did you also know that their germs can linger even after the pests have been eradicated? That means your employees could still be at risk of contracting potentially lethal infections, especially if stagnant water is nearby.
Limit the possible health and safety consequences by providing protective gloves to all construction workers, and promote good hand hygiene with adequate washing facilities.
#3: Stop future complications
Prevention is far easier and more effective than curing an infestation. Protect your building from future invasions from pests and rodents by incorporating preventative measures into initial construction stages.
Your biggest task will be blocking all conceivable points of entry, including gaps around drain pipes and air vents. A fine mesh should do the trick, and future human inhabitants will be forever thankful for your efforts.
So you never have to utter the shaming words ‘Rats ate my construction plans’ like those hapless Belgian officials, stick to these three steps for stopping rodent problems from disrupting your building site.