Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

110 Inches. Really?

Shrewsbury MA

In planning our projects, we always look at average weather conditions. Average is a thing of the past, and it seems we are now surprised by reality more often. We had a project in Wisconsin last winter, and we were told it was the coldest in memory. I guess they did not know about this year.

We are about 75% complete on a customer’s distribution center in Western Massachusetts. It’s a 20-acre site, and through yesterday, we have gotten 110” of snow in the last 90 days. What a mess.

So far on this project, we have spent roughly $60,000 dealing with frigid temperatures and conditions. While the cost is high, it maintains the schedule, brings the project online more quickly and optimizes ROI through customer satisfaction.

Last week we made an interior concrete pour with 0° thermometer outside.

Preparedness, foresight, ingenuity and grit are some of the words I think about when I think of our management on the job. We are constantly removing snow and providing temporary heat. We even snow plow to the port-o-let every morning. The few days we have missed are not because of the site, but because of impassable roads. We order concrete one week in advance and then they move the sand and aggregate into a heated building to warm up a couple of days before they batch for a pour. Achieving quality and production under these conditions is difficult, but not impossible.

What else have we learned? That we need to anticipate the worst weather and then be pleasantly surprised if the alternative takes place.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.