The Challenges of Construction in Winter

We can’t really do anything about the elements and their influence and impact on construction projects. Construction is a year-round occupation; projects don’t suddenly halt just because the weather starts to get bad. Not all construction companies have the luxury of waiting until the warmer months to continue with their work; deadlines need to be met, and there are budgetary constraints and other factors that mean projects just have to plough forward despite the weather.

However, running construction projects in the winter months certainly comes with its own drawbacks and challenges. Summer is definitely the preferred time to start a construction project, but if you find yourself stuck right in the middle of a job during winter, you should be aware of all the ways this season can make the construction process more challenging.

Construction in Winter

Freezing Water

The dropping temperatures bring with them the likelihood of water freezing over. Frozen water is not only a major inconvenience, but it can actually cause damage to certain aspects of a project. In brickwork, for example, if the water in mortar freezes, it won’t mix throughout the mortar and the mixture can fail. Worse still, frozen water expands, which can cause cracking in the brickwork. This brickwork will then likely need to be dismantled and re-built, wasting time and resources.

A solution to this could be to anticipate when the temperatures are going to drop to potentially freezing levels and ensure that this type of construction work is completed before or after freezing becomes a possibility. Predicting British weather can seem like a lost cause at times, but if you plan your construction based around the seasons, you should have a better chance of avoiding problems due to freezing water.

Slippery Surfaces

The risk of slipping and the potential for workplace accidents increases significantly around the winter period. Construction sites can often be hazardous places, but couple this with the possibility of ice and rain and you have a recipe for disaster. Ice can accumulate on scaffolding, ladders, walkways, stairs and platforms, not to mention that bad weather can cause a drop in motivation, potentially causing your workers to lose focus and not be 100% alert whilst working on-site.

You need to ensure a safe working environment for your employees. Check the site for hazards each day and sign-post these, providing weather-appropriate gear for your workers and warm break areas. Educate your employees about working safely during winter conditions to reduce the risk of accidents.

Snow Removal

Most parts of the UK aren’t known to be particularly susceptible to a white Christmas, but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility. Snowfall has the potential to really throw a spanner in the works when it comes to construction.

Snow removal can be timely, and it also puts your plant equipment out of commission for the job at hand whilst you’re busy trying to heave the snow out of the way. Also, every time it snows the site will need to be completely cleared. Everything from driveways needed for deliveries, walkways for workers and scaffolding needs to be cleared of snow for the day’s work. You may opt to simply halt construction for a few days if the snow looks like it will only be temporary, but if it looks like it might be sticking around for a while you may have to factor in the time and money needed to shovel it out of the way at the start of each day.

Daylight Limitations

With daylight disappearing so much earlier in winter, your employees are not likely to get as much work done during these months as they might in the summer; there just aren’t enough daylight hours to work with. The lack of daylight hours is something that needs to be taken into consideration when you’re planning and scheduling the completion of a project. Your project will inevitably move more slowly during the winter months.

At AE Faulks, we can supply quality plant equipment to hire for your next big project. Everything from dozers to excavators are available to hire from us, and all of our equipment is well-maintained and rigorously tested. Safety is at the forefront of everything we do, and all of our equipment is equipped with advanced safety features, such as our high-visibility painted handrails on our excavators to reduce the potential for slips and falls. If you’re looking for plant hire in Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester or other areas in the East and West Midlands, contact AE Faulks today.