Historic Snowstorm Brings Challenges and Opportunities to Construction Industry

The snow storm that swept the United States recently was historic in its strength and reach. The bomb cyclone put more than 40 million people under wind chill alerts across the central and northwestern US.

It brought more than two feet of snow to parts of the state and knocked out power to tens of thousands of people. Clearing up snow has been a challenge, as the winter storm continues to add more snowfall in the coming days.

For some in the construction industry, it could be an opportunity to offer their services as part of a cleanup operation. They can use equipment such as skid steers with backhoe attachments to clear up roads and driveways.

However, many are still waiting for better weather before they bring out their teams and heavy machinery. Exposure to the cold can bring other challenges to men and equipment, and waiting for improved weather conditions can prevent complications.

Other challenges for the construction industry affect their projects and construction sites. . Winter can freeze equipment and materials, and so project managers and contractors have to combine different kinds of solutions to resolve each challenge.

Cold Weather Weakens Concrete

Concrete is strong and durable, but when poured in colder weather it could affect the drying process and make concrete lose its strength as a building material. Contractors have to wait for a weather that is more suitable for concrete to dry completely.

They could also use concrete blankets to preserve heat or use anti-freezing components to the concrete or thawing machines to raise the ground temperature.

Frozen Earth and Soil Can Affect Grading and Foundation

Building sites need stable and compact ground. When winter arrives, it can be hard for workers to compact the earth. Frozen underground moisture can thaw, and it will create pockets of air in the ground and shift the level of the ground or buildings above.

Most contractors use modern heavy machinery such as skid steers with backhoe attachments to make subgrading work easier, but it can be much more difficult when dealing with frozen earth. It could take a longer time for contractors to complete the job.

Snow and Ice Slows Down Progress

Roads and construction sites can become slippery due to winter conditions. This slows down the progress of any project, whether it’s clearing up a road or completing a building construction.

Some contractors spread salt and de-icing agents on roads and walkways. This improves the safety of these areas and lessens the likelihood of people and vehicles slipping on icy roads and paths.

Once snow accumulates, however, these roads have to be cleared to continue any work. Sometimes all work may have to stop until the weather clears up.This often slows down the progress in many projects, and so contractors have to plan a schedule that accounts for these times.

While many in the country are bundled up indoors, most people in the construction business are busy preparing for what could be one of the biggest opportunities and challenges in years. The storm has brought a lot of destruction in many areas, but it has also undoubtedly copened new opportunities in the construction industry.

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