Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which form a significant portion in many economies, are some of the most vulnerable to the impact of extreme weather events (EWEs). This is of particular importance to the construction industry, as an overarching majority of construction companies are SMEs who account for the majority of employment and income generation within the industry. In the UK, previous research has identified construction SMEs as some of the worst affected by EWEs. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Given the recent occurrences of EWEs and predictions suggesting increases in both the intensity and frequency of EWEs in the future, improving the resilience of construction SMEs is vital for achieving a resilient construction industry. A conceptual framework is first developed which is then populated and expanded based on empirical evidence. Positioned within a pragmatic research philosophy, case study research strategy was adopted as the overall research strategy in undertaking this investigation.
Based on the findings of two in-depth case studies of construction SMEs, a framework was developed to represent EWE resilience of construction SMEs, where resilience was seen as a collective effect of vulnerability, coping strategies, and coping capacities of SMEs, characteristics of the EWE and the wider economic climate.
The paper provides an original contribution towards the overarching agenda of the resilience of SMEs, and policy making in the area of EWE risk management by presenting a novel conceptual framework depicting the resilience of medium sized construction companies.
A substantial proportion of the work presented in the paper has first appeared in an unpublished PhD thesis by the main author. Wedawatta, G. (2013) Resilience of construction SMEs to extreme weather events, PhD, University of Salford.
Wedawatta, G. and Ingirige, B. (2016), "A conceptual framework for understanding resilience of construction SMEs to extreme weather events", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 428-443. https://doi.org/10.1108/BEPAM-06-2015-0023Download as .RIS
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