Construction is a year-round industry, and while everyone would prefer to work only in the nicest weather, there are some jobs that can't wait. Whether you are faced with working in winter conditions or are closing up shop for the winter and coming back in the spring, there are several things you can do to protect your construction site. Follow these tips to make sure the winter weather conditions don't harm or delay your construction project.
Preventing Erosion: In most parts of the country, winter brings excess moisture. Whether your winter is rainy or snowy, the excess precipitation can cause severe erosion. Even if your construction site is closed for the winter, you will need to protect against erosion from rain or from melting snow. Getting heavy equipment back on a site and cleaning up mudslides are costly and take up valuable time. It is far easier and more cost-effective to grade the slopes to protect against erosion. If you are working through the winter, it is important to uncover only the land you need for immediate use. Cover all exposed soil at the end of each day. If you are leaving your site for the winter, you should plant vegetation or cover the exposed ground with hay to keep the soil in place until the spring.
Working with Concrete: Concrete can be finicky, and needs to cure for five to seven days. The curing process is important, and can make the difference between a concrete structure like a bridge lasting 20 years and 100 years. During this curing time, humidity and temperature need to be closely monitored. Using concrete curing blankets allows you to protect your concrete during curing, preventing it from freezing or getting too wet in winter conditions.
Protecting Pipes: If the winter will bring freezing temperatures to your construction site, you should take precautions to prevent water from freezing in your pipes. If your pipes do freeze, be careful how you thaw them. You can use a heat gun, heat lamp, or space heater, but never a flame.
Safety First: Safety is the most important thing, and in winter it is especially important. Make sure you never have people working during icy conditions. Keep people off of scaffolding in windy or stormy conditions, unless they are attached to a fall-protection system. Be sure to inspect hoists after they have been exposed to winds over 35 miles per hour.
If you follow these precautions, your construction site may make it through the winter unscathed.