Overcoming the Challenges of Winter Construction

There are several factors that make a winter build challenging. The following are several of the issues you will need to consider.

The Structure of the Building

Pre-engineered or steel with stud infill buildings present no problem for winter weather construction.

However, with a load-bearing masonry building it is best to build from the bottom up to avoid high tenting and heating costs.

Protecting Crews and Equipment

There are several factors that make a winter build tougher on crews and equipment. Because of heavy winter clothing, workers find it harder to perform their jobs. Additionally, crews will spend more time clearing ice to assure good traction to prevent slips at the site. Despite the cold temperatures, workers will still sweat. This condition means hypothermia can occur when crews cool down too rapidly and will require frequent breaks to warm up. Finally, equipment needs additional time to warm up.

Keeping the Site Cleaner

At least one lift of asphalt should be installed to keep the site cleaner as the snow melts in the spring. Cleaning time is less because crews won’t track as much mud into the building.

Removing Snow

It is important to remember that keeping snow out of the building requires more resources and will reduce the productivity of crew and equipment. To facilitate workflow, snow will have to be removed to create paths for equipment and worker to use.

Budgeting for Fuel Cost

You will need to budget for increased fuel costs during winter construction. Winter builds can increase fuel use in different kinds of equipment including concrete mixers, on-site heaters, and more.

Foremost, you need to decide if the extra costs of winter weather construction are worth not delaying the construction until warmer weather. If the decision is to move forward, you can build in the Northern Great Lakes during winter and have a successful construction project if you choose a builder experienced in planning for harsh winter conditions.

After nearly 125 years of building in across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Wisconsin, Gundlach Champion knows how to deal with harsh winter conditions. The GCI team brings over 350 years of combined experience to every construction project, from new buildings to renovations. To discuss your next project, contact us at

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