How Cold Weather Can Affect Construction Productivity

Posted by on Aug 26, 2019 in General Construction Articles No comments

Cold weather during a construction project can interrupt work productivity and affect workers’ safety. Here are a few things to keep in mind as a client if you need or want construction done during the winter season.

Cold Weather Weakens Setting Concrete

As concrete dries and sets, a chemical reaction transforms the concrete’s structure from liquid to solid. The concrete’s temperature greatly affects how quickly that change occurs. For a strong and long-lasting finish, concrete needs to dry as fast as possible, so it needs to be protected from colder temperatures that can slow drying time. If the concrete freezes before drying, its structure is damaged, reducing its strength & sturdiness beyond repair. Since water expands as it freezes, the concrete needs time to develop an adequate amount of strength to resist that pressure.

Finishing Drywall & Painting in Cold Weather

Anyone who attempts to use spackle or joint compound on drywall in temperatures below 60°F will find that it becomes brittle and doesn’t stick properly to the wall. They’ll also have problems when it’s time to paint the wall. Cold temperatures slow down the evaporation process, so paint takes longer to dry the colder it is.  Factor in the drying times between coats of paint and you can see how this can lengthen the total project time and reduce productivity. In addition to that, cold changes paint’s chemical structure, making it thick and incredibly difficult to spread.

How Cold Weather Causes Health Issues

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, construction workers in cold weather are often subject to health conditions like frostbite and hypothermia. These serious conditions occur when blood leaves extremities to protect internal organs or when the body loses heat faster than it’s able to generate it. The risk factor increases in colder weather and is worsened by damp conditions.

Keep in mind the effects the cold has on construction equipment, work productivity and safety when considering having construction done during colder months. Take a look at the construction services that Global Construction offer.

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