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    • Winter: Mitigating the Risks

      February 13, 2020

      If we were fair weather builders, we wouldn’t get much done. The reality is that, while we’re not exactly Alberta, winter conditions can show up any time here in the Shuswap. We keep the wheels of the construction industry turning throughout the winter months with proper planning, preparing for the worst, and sometimes a little risk-taking.

      Our recently-started project in McArthur Heights is a great example. Our clients had tight timelines, but we were confident we could finish their project on time -- which meant starting on time.

      We anticipated early road bans this year, so we excavated in advance of receiving building development permit approval, which we knew was a formality having kept in constant communication with the regional district. Permits were approved January 30, and we were ready to pour footings the following week. Then, two days ago, we poured the foundation walls. As expected, road bans went on last week, but we had already contacted the Ministry of Transport and received approval for 70 percent weight loads for the pour.

      We used specialty ready-mix with additional cement, hot water, extra calcium chloride accelerant, and no fly ash for faster set to achieve strength. As you can see from the photos below, we made good use of our insulated tarps, which are vital to keep the new concrete at the proper temperature during the initial stages of curing. We also left the forms on for two weeks to aid in the curing process. Temperature sensors in both footings and walls continue to show nicely warming, curing concrete.

      Road bans will remain place for a couple of months to prevent damage during the thaw. But again, we headed off any issues with this by stockpiling backfill materials onsite and leaving an excavator at the job. When we’ve achieved optimal concrete strength and weather becomes acceptable for backfilling and drain installation, we’ll be ready to go.

      Hats off to our foundation crew for this project, the Neufeld family, for braving the weather and managing over slippery and cold winter conditions to make this happen. If they hadn’t been ready, willing and able, we would have had a three-month delay waiting for the road bans to be lifted.

      It’s been a challenging winter. But we’re happy we could get this project off to great start despite the weather, thanks to some out-of-the-box planning and a bit of risk-taking in terms of responsibility for development and building permit issues if they would have arisen.