28 May 2021

Control heat and moisture in your summer construction projects

Control heat and moisture in your summer construction projects
 

Summer is coming. Think about long days at the beach, family barbecues in the backyard, and warm nights with friends on the porch.

It’s not as pleasant for new construction. If you don’t have the right cooling and drying systems in place, the moisture-heavy air and high temperatures of the summer months can cause mayhem.

Ensuring worker comfort and safety

The key to any successful project is keeping workers safe and comfortable. When temperatures rise it’s vital to have the right equipment to provide a cooler environment – whether that’s for one area, multiple areas, or even throughout your whole site.

Also, summer temperatures can slow productivity by exposing your construction workers to excessive heat, and even worse, to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. The good news, though, is that you can keep your teams safe with temporary cooling and drying, and that these seasonal comfort-cooling costs can be quickly recovered as worker productivity rises.

These spring months are the right time to plan for how you’re going to manage temperatures and humidity levels.

Temperature control for materials installation

Temperature management isn’t just about worker comfort and safety. It’s also essential for proper materials installation.

Whether it’s sheetrock and drywall mud or flooring and paint, every construction material has a particular set of temperature specifications for installation. These specifications determine the proper conditions as well as the limits for temperature and humidity. If these specifications are overlooked, you’ve got a rocky road ahead. After all, having to reinstall flooring or repaint a wall isn’t a task anyone wants to do. Let alone the implications in time and costs.

Keeping new construction and jobsites dry over the summer

Moisture absorption is a common problem in construction materials. While we can always expect some moisture in construction projects, too much brings a host of hazards.

Summer’s heavy rains and warmer temperatures only make the problems worse. These conditions are perhaps the greatest challenge against the process of keeping new construction and jobsites dry during spring and summer.

Coping with high humidity

What do you do if your site is affected by floods or water leaks? You turn to dehumidification.

But dehumidification doesn’t just counteract water damage; it’s also one of the best ways to dry out the increased moisture that accompanies the arrival of summer rains.

Through much of the summer, humidity levels are high and the air can become saturated — which means that, without the right measures in place, it’s likely that you’ll need extra work to successfully dehumidify your site.

Some of the main factors that will influence adding dehumidification to your jobsite’s cooling and heating systems include:

  • The type of finishes and furnishings you’re using
  • How long has water seeped into your construction (days, weeks)

Once you’ve determined your best approach to dealing with existing water damage or high humidity, best practices are to put in place a humidification prevention system.

Getting the drying process right

When you’re planning the timeline for your construction project, it’s likely you’ll factor in delays caused by the weather and try to conclude the build under the best possible conditions.

It’s critical to allow proper timing for the drying process. Before the new building can be used, you need to ensure all excess water has been expelled. This means not just drying the surfaces but also making sure that walls, finishes, and interior furnishings are clear and protected from developing excess moisture.

And it also means being careful not to force the drying process. This can damage materials, which will inevitably lead to further delays to your schedule.

A cost-effective way to speed up the drying process and bring moisture levels down to well below 75% relative humidity is provided by temporary cooling and dehumidification. Instead of waiting months for moisture to evaporate and concrete to cure, you can quickly establish the proper environment to validate flooring and coating specs.

Key considerations when choosing cooling and drying systems for new construction

With increased temperatures and rainfall, summer brings a whole host of additional challenges for cooling and drying new construction.

You can’t just turn on the air conditioner, cross your fingers and hope for the best — especially if you’re in an area with heavy rainfall.

Don’t forget that every building will be different. It all depends on what materials you’re using to build it and what type of furnishings there are going to be inside.

And when it comes to keeping moisture at bay, it’s all about timing. During those warm and humid summer months, there are three critical matters you need to pay attention to:

  1. Cooling – think about how you’re going to make sure temperatures are bearable and kept at a consistent level on the jobsite.
  2. Dehumidification and drying – you’ll need to make sure any excess moisture is expelled efficiently.
  3. HVAC repairs and switch-outs – you might need to change out your HVAC unit and arrange for repairs to be done quickly. This will depend on how long the construction process takes.

On top of this, there’s an additional complication: finding enough space on your jobsite to incorporate your cooling and heating system. When you’re constructing a new build, there will only be limited space available to integrate a cooling and drying system — which further emphasizes the importance of careful planning.

But with so much to think about when it comes to cooling and drying your new construction or jobsite, it can seem difficult knowing where to even start. This is why it’s a good idea to consult early with a rental cooling and heating specialist like Aggreko.

Preparation is key. Don’t wait until things become too hot to handle.