My guess is there are lots of people outside the construction industry that don’t give much thought to how tough and expensive it is to keep a project on schedule during the winter months. Not to mention the effort required by the dedicated tradesmen that make it happen.
In our industry, we spend a lot of time and research prior to the winter months trying to guess just what Mother Nature is going to bring us. If you’ve been in the Midwest for any length of time, you know our winters are a mixed bag of conditions. They can be incredibly cold and long, or they can be short and mild.
You just never know which way it will go, which is why we like making sure our customers understand the costs associated with winterization. To keep a project on schedule takes a lot of extra effort, planning and dollars. When competing for work, we try to figure out just what those costs will be for the upcoming winter. The odds of getting it right are like winning the Powerball lottery.
Getting it wrong in either direction can be detrimental to the success of a project. No ownership group wants to overpay for winterization, and no contractor wants to eat into already low margins spending excessive dollars battling Mother Nature. Therein lies the conundrum. This year is the perfect example. The late winter led to a lot of production and work being put in place. This work in an early winter would have cost more to put in place or not been completed at all, costing everyone.
The true win-win for everyone working on the project is to communicate up front what the expectations and goals are for the success of the project. Then with transparency, there can be several scenarios planned out with associated cost implications. The team can determine where the risks are and plan appropriately.
I want to recognize the effort by the craft professionals that execute the work in the field in these difficult and harsh winter conditions. Thank you.