Combating Winter Conditions on a Portland Industrial Demolition Job Site

Winter ConstructionFor Portland industrial demolition contractors, winter brings several threats. First, working in icy cold conditions is a safety hazard that requires special preparation. Second, unanticipated winter conditions may shut down demolition projects all together, wasting time and money. Industrial demolition contractors can prepare for winter now by following the tips and advice we provide below.

Planning for Adverse weather. Adverse weather is defined as any weather pattern that is harsh enough to interrupt or delay work. It can take many forms—soaring or plummeting temperatures, high winds, precipitation (rain, snow, and hail), and high or low humidity. Secondary weather effects include mud, ice, and mold/mildew (which threatens to cause rot). All of these secondary effects can prevent work from being completed. As such, construction project managers must be able to adequately predict the weather and make informed decisions about how to schedule work. Top-notch industry professionals use computer based modeling to predict upcoming weather conditions. As with most mathematical modeling, weather prediction programs tend to involve tricky statistical or data interpretation.

Weather Planning Methods. Each weather planning method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Ideally, a method will deliver information on both the severity and the timing of approaching weather. One method involves calibrating seasonal scheduling data with local weather information from the historical record. Then, the project manager can carefully plot out which aspects of the job are weather-dependant and which are not. Color-coding can be helpful in this endeavor. Next, the manager can adjust the project schedule for those periods when weather dependant tasks are to be completed. This requires careful planning and consideration of many variables, but when done correctly it allows contractors to be more flexible when inclement weather hits.

Challenges and Costs. The challenges of adverse winter weather, especially in northern climates, can be great. This is reflected in the higher operating costs for Industrial Demolition. Portland doesn’t see excessive ice, so winter demolition rates are often lower here than in more frigid locales. Higher costs can offset the increased costs of keeping workers safe in cold conditions. In Portland, we face heavy rains that can cause flooding. We also deal with the area’s heavy clay soils, which can quickly turn into muddy quagmires.

Equipment Needs. Equipment must be inspected and maintained for use or storage during winter months. Since winter may bring heavy winds, it is critical to install safety netting and harnesses for those working at heights. Scaffolding should also be checked and inspected for winter use. Moreover, water supply pipes must be kept flowing in freezing temperatures. The use of edge safety equipment is extremely important during winter months, as walking surfaces may be wet or slippery.

Coping. There are numerous methods to coping with the adverse weather. One is to try to make accurate predictions and schedule accordingly as mentioned above. Another method is to shut down during winter months, especially if you experience a decrease in business over the winter. For construction projects that must go forward, it makes sense to cover and secure the exterior of your structures by the start of November, so that you can work inside during Portland’s long, wet winter.

If you’re hoping to complete a demolition project this winter, call us. We’re experts in how to maintain efficiency and safety during hazardous winter conditions.

[photo by: Tuchodi on Flickr via CC License]

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