Winter poses unique challenges for construction sites, with freezing temperatures, snowfall, and icy conditions putting both workers and projects at risk. At Eckman, we work hard to plan for the safety, efficiency, and success of construction endeavors during the colder months.
Safety First. Winter conditions require additional safety precautions. “It’s not cliche at all,” said Steve Anderson, Director of Preconstruction at Eckman. He continued, “Safety is always a top, serious priority, but even more so in the winter. Maneuvering and working safely throughout a site…climbing scaffolding in icy, slippery conditions…you name it. Winter weather adds a whole new component we prepare for.” Eckman prioritizes safety by providing workers with appropriate winter gear as well as comprehensive safety training to educate workers on the risks associated with winter construction and best practices for mitigating these risks.
Advance Planning and Site Preparation. Before the winter season sets in, we identify and engage in thorough site preparation to eliminate and reduce potential issues. This includes inspecting and preparing the site for vulnerabilities, such as muddy conditions and rutting, inadequate drainage, and preventing potential stormwater violations. “Pre-planning for winter conditions is crucial. We typically start no later than Sept. 1 to determine site preparations, site utilities, and other critical path items so work can continue with no or minimal winter delays,” Anderson said. As examples, Anderson described steps on a couple of current projects, Mister Carwash in Meridian, Idaho and General RV in South Weber, Utah. Eckman’s resourceful and client-service driven methods and preparations have included planning early materials shipments and on-site protected storage and concrete mixing areas; extensive subgrade preparations to keep the site operational, and steps to protect concrete work with proper curing and to prevent freezing–from using massive, heavy-duty insulated concrete blankets to hot water concrete mixes.
Weather Monitoring and Snow Removal. Eckman monitors weather forecasts throughout the winter season. By staying informed about upcoming storms, extreme temperature drops, or heavy snowfall, we can proactively prepare the site and adjust construction schedules. Timely responses to changing weather conditions are essential for preventing weather-related delays and ensuring the safety of workers. And prompt and effective snow removal is critical for maintaining a safe and operational construction site.
Protective Coverings, Insulation, and Heating. To protect materials and equipment from damage and freezing due to winter elements, we use coverings such as large industrial insulated concrete blankets, tarps, and wraps. These materials shield building materials, machinery, and tools from snow, ice, and moisture, preserving their integrity. Additionally, temporary heating systems may be installed in key areas to prevent construction materials from freezing and ensure that workers can perform their tasks more comfortably.
Successfully navigating winter conditions on construction sites requires extra thought to safety and a combination of proactive planning, diligent monitoring, and the implementation of specific protective measures. At Eckman, we take extra care to safeguard both our workers and construction projects, ensuring that winter does not hinder progress. By embracing these strategies, our construction projects continue to thrive and stay on-schedule and on-quality for our clients, even in the face of challenging weather conditions.