Record-Breaking Cold Brings Out Winter Conditions!

Feb 27, 2014

Neither rain nor sleet nor snow can keep construction from being completed. Even though this year’s winter weather has been challenging, Smet’s construction projects have been moving forward.

Scott Smet, CEO of Smet Construction Services Corp. said, “The old wives tale about construction stopping in winter just isn’t true! These days with technology and advances in construction materials we continue to work throughout the winter.”

He went on to note that in some conditions, with proper site heating, concrete can cure out more slowly and become stronger than in the hot summer months where excessive heat can lead to quick cures with cracks and shrinkage.

Smet said the main thing is to communicate to the owner any cost changes due to winter conditions. “Paying for winter conditions is often just a small part of the overall project’s total cost but most owners don’t want any surprises.  Often winter conditions can be itemized and explained as keeping the project on schedule. Plus, each spring suppliers generally raise their prices on materials which are often higher than the cost of winter conditions. So it can actually be cheaper to work through the winter avoiding material price increases and getting into the new building sooner”.

Smet’s Director of Project Management, Joash Smits, confirmed the challenges of the winter weather. “This year the frost levels are the deepest they have been in 20 years!” he said. “At this point, the frost is still going into the ground. Usually by now we’ve turned the corner and the frost coming out of the ground.”

On several jobs Smits said he has been dealing with insulated blankets and ground heaters to take the frost out of the ground. Also, keeping up with snow removal has required more time than in previous years. He expects the normal spring cleanups that usually begin in March or April are likely to begin a little later this year. Fortunately there have been no major breaks in water mains.

How can you avoid winter conditions? Proper planning is still the best way to avoid it. Too often people wait and don’t begin their planning until June. So getting an earlier start and then making the decision to work with winter can often be your best bet in dealing with winter’s harsh conditions. Of course, if you really want to avoid winter conditions let Smet Construction Services deal with them. You can head to your favorite beach in a warm climate and return to a completed project when winter finally gives way to spring!

Greg Polacheck, Director of Market Development

gpolacheck@smet.com

920.532.3828