Regardless of whether a construction project is commercial or residential, winter presents many challenges. Here in Central Minnesota, we’re no stranger to Old Man Winter. In other states, construction crews may shut down their sites until warmer weather arrives. We don’t have that luxury when we live in an area where winter can last anywhere from four to seven months. Here at Baratto Brothers Construction, we have to find ways of outsmarting the elements so we can still get our jobs done and keep our clients happy. All of this is done with both worker safety and project integrity in mind.
Understanding how to continue work during the winter months comes from years of experience and tons of planning. Preparation is key when it comes to continuing construction once the snow flies.
Some of the key challenges construction crews face include:
- Snow Removal – While snow is terrific at insulating the ground so frost doesn’t penetrate too deeply, it can create hurdles workers need to jump through before they can even begin work on their job site. Plowing, shoveling, and removing snow from the job site takes time away from the task at hand. While precautions can be made by placing outdoor tools under tarps, or inside trailers, it still slows down accessibility to these tools.
- Daylight – During these winter months, daylight is greatly diminished. We all feel it when we go to work in the dark and head for home in the dark. Without the proper planning and lighting, work at job sites end when the sun goes down. This can continue to limit the progress on a site, if time isn’t managed well.
- Frost – Digging foundations in winter isn’t ideal once the frost sets in. While it can be done, it takes an experienced team with some well thought out plans. You wouldn’t want to dig, only rip out sections of frost and have to import topsoil so the footings don’t become unstable later on.
- Concrete – In cold weather, a different mix in the concrete is required. Often, blankets and ground heaters are needed to keep the conditions right for curing the concrete. While concrete creates its own heat during the process, it’s important to keep it covered, insulated, and dry so it can set properly.
- Utilities – Trying to run new utility lines out to a job site when the frost has set in can be extremely difficult, time-consuming, and costly.
- Tools – Compressor airlines can freeze when temps drop too low, making it impossible to use nail guns, staple guns, etc.
- Workers Safety – Extreme winter weather can pose potential risks for crew members, so it’s essential their safety is taken into account when working on a job site. This includes making sure the job site is free of snow and ice, if working on exteriors or open floor plans as they’re being built. Proper clothing is also critical; thermal gloves, coats, hats, boots to ward off hypothermia and frost bite. It’s important to keep in mind that progress on a site will likely go slower than it would in summer due to the extra precautions and steps workers need to take during winter to safely accomplish their objectives.
Baratto Brothers Construction has been building superior homes in the Brainerd Lakes Area since 2002 and we’ve extended that excellence to commercial construction in recent years. If you’re looking to start a new project soon, contact us at 218-692-1070 for a free consultation. Getting the right team for your next construction project doesn’t have to be daunting, or tedious, even in winter. We’re here to help make it as easy and stress-free as possible. It’s just one of the many ways we work hard to become your Commercial Builder for Life.