You just made one of the biggest decisions of your life!
You have decided to build a brand new dream home! The papers are signed, conditions are removed, and your builder has just gone in for a building permit. Before you know it you will be sitting in front of your cozy warm fireplace sipping a morning coffee. From your Builders point of view it isn’t quite that easy:
Snow, Rain & Freezing Temperatures:
Dreaded words to almost any contractor, because ultimately it means time is lost on a project. What isn’t always widely known is why time is lost due to weather conditions.
Living and building homes in Lethbridge presents a number of challenges because of our drastic temperature fluctuations. In the last year, 2013 and this year 2014 we have seen some interesting weather patterns, leaving trade partners literally off of the jobsite. So what exactly are some of the delays that are encountered on a project due to weather? Below outlines how weather can impact a build.
Humidity: rain, snow and moisture in the air
- Excavation and Backfill: Large amounts of precipitation can make the ground too wet to dig or get heavy machinery onto a lot. The back hoes and gravel trucks can easily get stuck in the mud, causing more time lost trying to get out when it is dry enough. Not to mention will destroy the grade and the lot itself in doing so.
- Pouring foundations, footings and concrete: Excess moisture will cause soil instability and ultimately affect the overall structure of the home if footings and foundations are poured when it is too wet.
- Framing/Roofing: Exterior work can be held up due to safety issues. Lumber and materials become slippery and a hazard for framers and roofers to work. The extra moisture can also lead to an increased chance of electrocution from onsite power sources.
- Dry wall and Paint Drying: There is no standard set time it takes for drywall mud to dry. It is dry, when it is dry. Humidity in the air makes for longer drying times in drywall mud and paint. This isn’t necessarily a few hours, but it can be days.
Freezing/Thawing: in the winter months
- Frost: Frost in the soil can cause major issues for not only digging basements, but can also cause frost heave in foundations if concrete is poured on frost. The freeze/thaw cycle with our chinook winds can drive frost deeper into the ground. At some points in the winter in Lethbridge the frost penetrates too deep to dig basements. At which point there are times when the soil needs to be monitored and excavators have to wait for warmer weather to cycle in, to dig and to pour foundations.
- Concrete: A temperature of +7 degrees C must be maintained in order to pour concrete. In colder temperatures, contractors can tarp and heat the area, however freezing overnight temperatures will often prevent this from being an option. If the concrete cannot be kept at that temperature, the moisture in the mixture will freeze, and will prevent it from reaching the design strength or MPA. This can cause structural problems, flaking and many other issues.
- Vinyl Siding: Freezing temperatures can cause vinyl siding to crack when installed. Not to mentions temperatures that are too cold are not safe for people to work in.
Lethbridge is the land of chinooks and wind. We all know what this powerful force can do. All sheeting, drywall, large windows, and roof trusses can become kites, and make it extremely unsafe for those working outside and around the jobsite in overly windy conditions.
Putting it all Together:
These elements can in fact add significant time onto a build, depending on what stage the homes is at. Closing up the building envelope is a key stage and getting there can be a struggle for Builders and Trade Partners. Three days of rain, can ultimately mean a loss of one week. Then we usually see the strong winds that helps to dry everything out, but prevents many other steps from happening.
As we find ourselves leading into the colder months of the building year, these are all factors to keep in mind on your journey to build your new home. Communicating with your Builder Representative about weather delays and the building schedule, will be a great benefit if there are any questions that may arise.