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  • Writer's pictureRankin Group


Citizens that live in northern climates understand the unique challenges winter weather can bring with it. While the government entities gear up for the season with snow plows and salt trucks, home and business owners prepare their properties for the stress that cold, rain and snow can cause. Contractors are also faced with tough decisions that can make it difficult to prepare a work site for impending wintry storms. Since sites are usually very exposed, preventing damage to equipment and materials, managing the staff and thinking ahead to cleaning up after a weather event can mean the difference between meeting deadlines and not.


Being proactive with your storm preparations means that you are in a better position to protect your equipment as well as the construction site itself. Once stormy weather has been forecast, set into motion a series of graduated steps that outlines what needs to be accomplished on any given day. Taking this approach ensures two things: firstly, that preparations are organized and, secondly, that the necessary jobs are completed. Be sure to build in extra time to in case the storm hits earlier than anticipated or to wrap up the inevitable loose ends.


Reroute the path that your water drainage system takes to position it away from your construction site as well as any areas used for storage and/or staging materials. Doing so can help prevent water from pooling dangerously before turning into ice. Wind-blown sleet and snow can damage unprotected surfaces so make sure that those elements cannot encroach on these spaces. Cover any exposed openings — roofs and windows instantly come to mind — and fill in any trenches that were dug for the project.


Determine if the situation calls for loading up heavy equipment and bringing it back to the shop so that it can be stored away from the elements. If this is not possible — if it is determined to be an unwise move — protect your equipment by covering it in as secure of a fashion as possible. Halt all roof and ceiling work after you learn of the impending storm and devise a system that protects the work already completed on the project. Dispose of, or properly store, all loose items on the site such as trash, extra materials and debris.


Yes, you need your employees out on the construction site to prepare your work sites for the impending bad weather. Yes, you are working under a time crunch that can be highly stressful. Don’t forget, though, to let your employees leave with a generous buffer of time so they can complete preparations at their own homes. Along the same vein, make sure that you assign a team to storm prep duty — both to ensure that the task doesn’t fall on any one person and also to provide a measure of protection for your workers in the event that something goes awry.


As important as preparing a work site before a storm is, having a plan for the days after might be more crucial. After all, you’ll likely lose work time to the storm and getting back on track is imperative to meeting deadlines.

Even with the best planning, flooding and blizzards can leave lasting damage. Dehumidifiers, air circulators or extra heating may be needed to ensure excess water is removed and the work site is set back to its pre-storm condition. Long periods of cold weather also often accompany storms and providing proper heating for your team to work in can help make sure they are operating efficiently.

Getting back to work after inclement weather can sometimes be daunting, but with proper foresight, you can manage it effectively. Consider your pre-storm preparations and what will be needed afterward and you will have your team back to work and meeting deadlines.

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