What are problems construction companies face in Winter Guide, Building tips, Property advice

What are the Problems Construction Companies face in Winter?

22 May 2021

In countries where winter takes over for a large portion of the year, like Canada, construction companies cannot put projects on hold because it gets cold or there is too much snow on the ground. It does create additional problems that they have to be aware of, and make due with. Here are some of the challenges that they face.

What are problems construction companies face in Winter?

Living and working in Northern Countries

Although it is true that some people chose to live in Northern countries for the pleasure of skiing, skating and enjoying other winter activities, most have to go through winter, waiting for the first solar rays to bring some warmth, so they can enjoy eating out on a terrace. Winter can be a particularly difficult season for people who work outside. Construction sites become a completely different beast when the ground gets frozen, and temperatures drop below minus ten degrees Fahrenheit.

The first problem you face, as a manager on a construction site, is to keep your people warm. That is why you will always find a variety of food warmer, such as coffee or hot water dispensers, and weather proof insulated bags, to keep the food warm for the men and women on the site.

Then, you also have to keep them safe. When many people walk on the same ground, snow turns into slush, and as it gets colder, it then becomes ice patches. Salt and sand are the two most important elements to solve this problem, but you have to remain alert, as the weather can turn in a minute, in Northern towns.

Two of the Most Important Issues on Winter Constructions Sites


If you are building a structure in winter, it is simply impossible to respect the usual time it takes to do so, normally. There are moments when you have to shut down the site and others when workers will have to work slower, to stay safe. That needs to be taken in account when budgeting the project.


If you have to cut through frozen ground, you will find it much more difficult. In winter time, a good 30cm of soil can be completely frozen, under your feet. It gets so hard, that even heavy digging equipment will have issues cutting through it. Therefore, you will need special equipment to be brought on site. This will augment the budget as well, but mostly, it needs to be prepared, so that you have the right tools with you, when you start the process.

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York University Student Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architects: CannonDesign
York University Student Centre Toronto Building
photograph © Connie Tsang
York University Student Centre

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