Why would you build a building in the middle of winter?
We know, we know. At first thought, it sounds a little crazy to be building a project from the ground up in the middle of the coldest part of the country at the coldest time of year. But some of our clients need to be in their space by a specific timeframe, and the financial incentives or penalties for NOT being in their space justify the added cost of winter construction. Here’s how we make those projects happen!
Timelines Are Key
Getting a site ready for a winter build starts with a meticulous timeline and a team that can keep the project ON schedule. This is the critical piece to completing each project the right way, and how we minimize additional costs due to weather complications.
For example, we usually install underground site utilities before the snow flies. Any utilities like sanitary and storm water lines need to go pretty deep in the ground. Once the ground is deeply frozen, this work has to wait until spring – which means the whole project will be on hold until the ground thaws. A well-managed timeline from beginning to end is the key to success!
We Bring the Heat
Nearly every building has a need for concrete. From foundation work to sidewalks to monument signs, it’s one of the essentials to a ground-up build. We typically try to complete concrete work before the heart of winter hits, but occasionally that doesn’t happen.
To properly cure, concrete has specific temperature requirements. In colder temperatures we take specific measures to ensure proper curing. These include the use of insulation blankets to cover and heat the ground, keeping the concrete warm while its curing, and various additives to the ready mix. It’s a little more work than curing concrete on a perfect sunny, 70-degree day!
Speeding Up the Process
Our goal is to get the building “dried in” as fast as possible. This means the walls are up, the roof is on, and the windows and doors are in place. Basically, we want the structure put together to the point where we can heat it and start work on the interior!
To simplify this process in the winter, we sometimes use a pre-fabricated shell, made right here in Minnesota. It’s an innovative process that saves our clients time and cost with winter construction, since the pieces are built indoors (even exterior finishes), brought on-site and put together like a puzzle.
More flexible scheduling
Winter in Minnesota is typically a little slower in the construction industry, which can work in our clients’ favor! Our sub-contractors aren’t as bogged down with projects, which means they have more flexibility in their schedules. More flexibility from the team means we can offset some of the potential weather delays and we are not competing as much with other construction projects for the same labor resources!
Building a ground-up facility gets our clients exactly what they want. They get complete control over the building aesthetic, functionality, and often have fewer surprises in the construction process than what can sometimes pop up with renovating an existing facility. With the right timeline – and the right team to manage it – a winter build can make sense for certain projects.