Don’t let the snow slow you down, redevelop in the winter
As most people know, Chicago-land offers it’s challenges when it comes to construction in the inclement months of November through April with the 90 day period from December through February being the most challenging. During Chicago’s winter months average temperatures are at or below freezing and snowfall is both constant and heavy. Less than a paradise for most construction workers, this would seem like a nightmare for many but over the past twenty years MACK Companies has developed a strategy to deal with these less than ideal situations.
We have added these processes and procedures to our standards over the years and the end result is that we have little slowdown in production throughout these harsh winter months and production dips by only 5% regardless of what curveballs Mother Nature throws us. The following is our recipe for dealing with wintertime conditions:
1. Buy appropriate inventory. This seems intuitive, but we are always looking to buy inventory that has less exterior work than we would normally buy in the warmer months. This does not mean we pass on good inventory that needs exterior work, it simply means skewing towards homes that require less work on the exterior as exterior work proves to be the most challenging in cold weather.
2. Plan for the weather. This means doing exterior work before interior work when the season is pressing. We will occasionally finish the exterior of a home prior to beginning the interior when the cold weather is approaching. This also means watching the weather on a daily basis and planning according. As I write this on Dec 26th the high reached 54 degrees in Chicago and we had crews on many homes outside finishing items that the break in the weather allowed.
3. Enclose the exterior. In a pinch enclosing small areas at a time on the exterior of our projects allows us to paint, caulk, wrap, and tuck-point when absolutely necessary. This is time consuming and a bit more costly, but certainly can be done when the situation requires us to do so.
4. Use climate engineered building materials. Manufacturers around the world have developed a plethora of far ranging products to combat inclement weather. Concrete additives, cold weather paint, engineered caulk, exterior heaters, insulation, are just a few of the products available to the construction industry to keep the wheels moving throughout the winter.
5. Utilize escrow agreements with municipalities. Most villages will allow builders to apply for occupancy on homes and grant temporary occupancy based on exterior items that are weather dependent. For example, if there is exterior painting to be completed on a home, the village will generally give some allowance to finish the work before a date certain. This allows the contractor to finish the work in better weather conditions while being able to close or rent the home in question.
Utilizing a combination of processes like smart buying, proactive working and weather smart materials the MACK Companies construction operations continue to be virtually unimpeded.
Each project, timeframe, and village vary, so it is vitally important that our construction manager foresee the possible conditions depending on the time of year and plans accordingly. After some experience and a little luck, it is certainly possibly to work right through wintertime conditions and keep production high.