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Challenges of Winter Construction

December 06, 2013

Construction owners are at risk of losing money when they decide to work through the winter months. It may be more practical for these businesses to hold off taking on new job opportunities until temperatures get warmer.

Winter time is here, bringing cold air and harsh winter conditions. For some small businesses, especially in the north, the cold weather really just means turning on the heat and a change of inventory to accommodate customers. For other small business owners, specifically those in the construction industry, the cold air can mean battling through the harsh temperatures and conditions to get a job done.

Expenses can quickly add up during the winter months for construction owners.

Opportunities to start new projects are often scarce come holiday time, so it is important for construction owners to build a strong book of projects going into the winter months to keep them afloat. The problem with winter construction is the cost of keeping these projects going is usually higher than any other season. What’s the reason for the higher cost? Frozen ground, minimal vegetation, daylight savings time and securing employees all tend to add to the cost of maintaining operations during winter. Expenses can quickly add up during the winter months for construction owners.

While some business owners will work through the winter, others are finding the need to shut down business or hold off on major projects until the season passes due to rising cost. Diesel fuel used for heavy machinery has increased more than 50 percent in recent years. Costs are also high if you own or rent the heavy machinery needed to break ground during the cold weather months.

As a small business owner in the construction field anticipating large projects going into the winter months, it’s important to make sure you have working capital to get through the season. Anticipating the extra man power and equipment needs to clear recent snowfall, the extra time to warm up equipment, and the decrease in productivity due to decreased daylight is key. Weigh your options; it may be more economical to hold off on any winter projects due to the added pressures and costs.

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