Welcome to another winter in Illinois, the season of bitter cold, freezing rain, and blowing snow. A season for bundling up and hunkering down, winter can also be a season where the construction phase of your commercial project can slow down if it is not winter ready. Winter commercial construction can be arduous, but it can also lead to money saved. It is important to understand the challenges and choose the right commercial general contractor. It can make all the difference on your project.
It is important to work with a general contractor that has enough experience to professionally handle your winter project. If not, you may find yourself amid a construction project that is not winter ready and face a few hurdles toward the completion. While starting a commercial construction project in the winter can help keep costs down, the season comes with a wealth of pitfalls that a company less experienced could fall victim to. Let’s look at some specific challenges winter presents.
Inclement Weather Can Affect Materials
Snow, sleet, rain, and bitter cold weather can be problematic for commercial construction. When you start a project in cold weather, the freezing temperatures, snow, and ice all affect how certain materials behave.
Frozen ground harms new concrete. According to the American Concrete Institute, if concrete is exposed to freezing during the first 24 hours of being poured, it can lose up to 50 percent of its strength. If you pour concrete on frozen ground, when the weather warms up, the ground thaws and settles into new positions. This could lead to concrete cracks or breaks. Your contractor can help take precautionary measures to keep your concrete installation safe by bringing in provisions for heat and covering to protect newly poured concrete.
Drywall can be slow to dry in colder temperatures. Mud drying time depends greatly on temperature and humidity. Winter weather could delay painting and applying other wall finishes. The solution, of course, is heat and humidity control. An experienced contractor who has worked in harsh weather can factor in these elements and ensure the proper temperature and heat is supplied.
It is important to note that paint can freeze. In 35-degree weather or below, you can expect big challenges with paint. Paint when exposed to cold temperatures, can produce inconsistent color and water spots. The paint also will not last as long. As with drywall in colder temperatures, heat and humidity control are a must. The commercial contractor can delay painting at times or bring in special cover and heating systems to adapt.
Cold Weather and Safety
During the winter, workers are going to need more on-site benefits. These include things such as portable heaters, temporary enclosures, and appropriate winter gear. Equipment, machines, and supplies can all be damaged during a winter storm. Not only can the excess moisture from and snow be a problem, but the extremely low temperatures can have a negative effect on equipment. Road circumstances can also lead to delays in the delivery of materials on a commercial project.
Commercial Construction Does Not Stop
Does commercial construction stop during winter? No, commercial construction does not stop during the winter months, despite all the challenges listed above. Even with the potential problem and hazards, winter projects offer some great advantages!
Competitive Project Bids
Commercial construction slows down during the winter and commercial contractors offer more competitive bids. These bids are lower than those in peak seasons (spring and summer). That is because contractors and their subcontractors have more availability during the winter, providing the scheduling flexibility to meet your project’s needs.
Streamlined Permit Process
Fewer contractors and subcontractors apply for construction permits during the winter. Because of this, your contractor can apply for and receive permits for your project quicker than they could in spring or summer. Better permit access allows your contractor to start your project faster than usual.
Even though there is extra maintenance needed for a project conducted during the winter, commercial projects conducted during the colder months can save you on labor, supplies, and equipment costs. Consider these benefits when planning your project in the later months of the year.
If you need to complete construction during winter, you need a contractor who has experience working in harsh weather. Fortunately, Omni Commercial Group offers comprehensive commercial construction services that include safety precautions for winter projects. Whether you need a renovation, tenant finish, or expansion, we have the solutions you need. We work with a wide range of industries and know how to complete winter commercial projects for each of them.
If you’re ready to start construction for the winter, reach out to us today. We can assess your project, determine which parts can be completed safely, and work as much as the weather allows. Our services keep your project on schedule and within budget.