Conventional wisdom used to advise contractor's not to build houses during winter months, cautioning that if a roof wouldn't be finished before the snow came, the entire project should wait until the spring. However, like so many other pieces of well-worn wisdom, it's outlived its usefulness. Not only can you build in the cold, it can have some advantages—if you're safe.
To be sure, conditions are more difficult. There's less daylight and the bulky clothing workers have to wear to stay warm can limit mobility. However, being able to build at all can keep crews busy during winter months, a welcome boon for industry professionals who otherwise would not have jobs. In fact, some natural conditions are less of an impediment than one might expect: crews can easily work through a light snowfall, and snow can actually insulate the ground and protect against a cold snap.
One of the benefits of not waiting until spring to build is the inherent cost of owning a parcel of land. Ryan Weitzman, who co-owns Northbrook-based Restruction General Contractors, explained the situation to the Chicago Tribune.
"If someone has property in October and says we're going to start in the spring, they have to carry the cost of the property for that amount of time," said Weitzman. "Sitting on a permit is expensive."
If you're committed to a winter construction project, it's important to be safe. Additional measures should be taken to ensure that pipes don't break and leak water. Crew members should also take care to stay warm, as well as avoid taking unneeded risks in icy conditions.
Commercial contractors insurance is always important, but it becomes pivotal in the coldest weather. Because there is a new range of potential accidents, foremen should ensure they have adequate coverage before building, not only to protect the structure itself but also to keep workers safe.