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Winter Construction Challenges, Difficulties, and Delays

For people who are looking to have construction completed in the winter months it is important to understand there are some concerns, delays, and setbacks that builders and construction workers face in the winter months that are not present at other times of the year. That is because most of these types of climate and weather concerns are unique to the winter months. While most construction workers are familiar with the changes that winter weather and climate create for building projects, many property owners are unaware of the potential difficulties that can arise. Winter construction months are generally from November to March.

Cold Weather and Moisture Concerns

In the winter months, the weather is colder and this of course can adversely affect building materials. Cold weather can affect wood, paint, wiring, plumbing, and even flooring. In addition to the cold making materials often more difficult to work with, the air moisture levels are much less in the winter. While dryer air can be good for some things, it can make curing materials like paint, sealants, caulking, cement, and pavement take more time than other seasons throughout the year. Additionally, the colder temperatures can also make for difficult conditions for builders to complete any of their work outdoors.

For interior construction or building during the winter months there are fewer concerns than exterior work. By contrast there are ways to mitigate the temperature and dry air concerns for interior building work. To mitigate cold air temperatures, construction workers can use interior heaters to help ease the adverse effects of the colder temperatures. When addressing the effects of low humidity and dry air, adverse conditions can be remedied with the use of humidifiers.

Inclement Weather

In addition to colder temperatures and low humidity, the winter months can also be a time of more inclement weather patterns. This is important to consider because adverse weather events can cause significant delays. Poor weather conditions can make it nearly impossible to complete any building project unless the work is geared around indoor construction projects.

Daylight Restrictions

The winter months are also a time when there is much less daylight time for construction to be completed. Because of this, property owners who hire builders should be aware that the hours of daylight that builders have to work with is significantly reduced by several hours a day. This means the loss of daylight weekly can mean between 10-12 hours fewer work hours for the construction projects to be worked on. That is the equivalent of a day and a half less than daylight during the spring and summer months. The end result is that on average, winter building projects will take more time to complete. A project that could be completed in 16 weeks in the warmer seasons would likely take 20 weeks in the winter months.

To counter some of the difficulties of less daylight, extensive lighting can be used to complete most interior projects. However, this generally does not work well for any exterior work. Any exterior work that needs to be completed in the winter months primarily must be completed during daylight hours. Property owners who are interested in having building projects completed in the winter should be prepared for delays that can last days or longer. It is recommended that property owners work closely with builders and contractors during the winter months so they can understand any delays as they occur. Having good communication with a contractor is an essential part of ensuring that any building project goes well and is finished without any major concerns or disappointments.

If you would like more information about winter construction projects, contact T.F. Harper & Associates LP, located in Austin, TX.

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