How Does Weather Affect Construction?

December 22, 2020

Adverse weather can throw a serious wrench in construction plans. This can be especially troublesome in regions with a lot of snow such as Colorado. Other factors such as high winds, heavy rain, temperature, and fog can come into play and affect a construction timeline. The unpredictability of weather can’t be planned around which can make it a major reason some projects get pushed back. 

If you’re pursuing a new build project or you’re in the middle of one currently, you might want to know what to expect. In this article, we’re going to break down how the weather can affect a construction project by the season. 

Construction in the Fall and Winter

Fall and winter can be a difficult time of year to start or continue a construction project. The cold temperatures complicate the process on a number of fronts. It can also grow to be an expensive endeavor if you choose to press on through inclement weather. 

Here are a couple of factors to keep in mind:

Ground Temperature 

One major issue in the fall and winter is ground temperature. Frozen earth isn’t impossible to work with but it can pose some complications – especially when it comes to breaking ground. Excavation and laying down concrete aren’t ideal when the ground is frozen. The frost can reach almost a foot below the surface. So, breaking ground on the project during the winter isn’t ideal if you live in a cold state.

There are some options to combat the freezing earth. Some methods include using anti-freezing concrete components, ground thaw machines, or insulated blankets. But this can drive up the price of a construction project. 

Cold-Sensitive Construction Equipment 

Many pieces of building materials and equipment are rendered useless in freezing weather. For instance, mortar and grout require adequate heat for normal cement hydration. Attempting to install any type of concrete in freezing temperatures can reduce its durability.

Other types of adhesives, insulation, and electrical wiring need to be installed at a certain temperature too. Depending on the stage of your project and if heating units are already in place, these are factors that may slow progress down. 

Construction in the Spring and Summer 

Although warmer temperatures are more desirable when it comes to construction, there are some weather issues that can occur in the spring and summer months that can slow down a timeline as well. Keep in mind that some conditions from the winter can bleed into the spring depending on where you live. 

Here are a couple of factors to keep in mind during spring and summer:

High Winds

Any equipment that is suspended in the air will pose a safety risk during high winds. Cranes and towers are especially dangerous. They could get blown over, injuring the individuals working on them and potentially damaging the construction site. If the wind is strong enough, it can also lead to objects flying into the air and striking people on the site. 

High winds can also kick up a lot of dust. This can irritate or damage the eyes. It can also create low visibility which can make it difficult to complete work optimally. The loud sound of wind can also make it difficult for construction workers to hear approaching vehicles which can pose a safety risk too. 

Heavy Rain 

Torrential rain reduces visibility for workers on a site and the drivers operating heavy machinery. It can also cause less than ideal working conditions. Mud can be especially difficult to work in. It can also lead to damaged equipment or materials. 

Thick Fog 

Fog is another type of possible summer weather condition that reduces visibility for construction workers. Without the ability to see what’s a few feet in front of them, it can make it extremely difficult to drive construction vehicles or get out of the way as a vehicle approaches. When fog appears, a project may have to halt until it clears. However, this is a less likely weather condition to appear in summer in select regions of the country. But, though rare, it does occur in Colorado.

Expert Contractors Set Real Expectations

Inclement, unpredictable weather conditions aren’t impossible to work with. If you live in a region with varying weather, be sure to hire an experienced local contractor. We’re really stressing the ‘local’ since they have experience working around the regional weather changes during a build. Of course, delays can be inevitable, but they may have more knowledge on options and solutions when bad weather strikes. 

If you’re in the Northern Colorado region, H3 Construction & Design is at your service! Be sure to give us a call to learn more about our services and how to plan your build. Rain or shine, we’re happy to be your trusted local contractor in NoCo!

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