07 Oct 2021

How to Stop a Cold Winter From Affecting Your Jobsite Schedule

BSC October Crane

Winter is often the most challenging time of year for jobsites - both in terms of keeping your project running efficiently and productively, and ensuring continued safety and comfortable working conditions for your staff.

Whichever phase of the construction you’ve reached, low temperatures can easily lead to additional costs and lengthy delays if you fail to plan ahead. Whether it’s equipment and processes that can’t function when they get too cold or staff who simply can’t carry on working in extreme temperatures, why risk the possibility of your project shutting down due to the weather?

Fortunately, it’s possible to prepare for even the coldest winters and keep your site ahead of schedule all year round. At Aggreko, we have a range of portable heating solutions specially designed for the construction industry. Here we’ll take a look at the main applications of these solutions and how they can benefit you.

Heaters for concrete pouring

Concrete pouring and curing can be more difficult during the winter months as it’s critical to maintain a 60℉ surface temperature at all times. When your curing process takes 14-21 days you need accurate temperature control throughout this period.  

In Manitoba, Canada, the ambient air temperature can fall as low as -40℉ in winter. When a car dealership needed to cure concrete in these conditions they called in Aggreko for expert help. By embedding expandable heat transfer tubes within the concrete pours we were able to reduce their fuel consumption and overall costs. A propane-fired boiler was connected to a grid of tubing spaced 1 to 1.5 feet apart - this allowed for consistent heating of the poured concrete to keep the project on schedule, and the minimal power draw ensured costs were kept to a minimum.

In North Toronto, we assisted with the expansion of an underground subway shaft. The schedule wouldn’t allow for construction to be delayed until spring, but with temperatures regularly below freezing in winter, it wasn’t possible to pour the concrete. With nine different areas over a half-mile needing to pour concrete 150 feet below ground, it was extremely challenging to provide the necessary heating. To combat this, cabling was hung strategically to avoid placing too much weight on the heaters, and ductwork was routed to provide just the right amount of heated air throughout the shaft. Once installed, the heaters were placed on skids to allow them to be maneuvered by forklift as required. We also configured our Aggreko Remote Monitoring solution to alert the operations center to carry out servicing and proactive maintenance to prevent any problems before they impacted the heating solution.

Keeping construction sites warm and comfortable in subzero weather

A cold worker is an unhappy worker. And an unhappy worker is an unproductive worker. Aside from complying with basic health and safety regulations, it makes sense to keep your staff warm and happy as they will reward you with loyalty and hard work. But in the -40℉ Canadian winter, heating all the buildings on large construction sites isn’t easy.

When a commercial construction site faced this challenge, we leaped into action and installed two 1.2 million BTU natural gas boilers with 12 points of radiant heat dispersed throughout their building. By running the hoses connecting the boilers with the fumeless, radiant heaters under crawl spaces we made the floors function like one huge radiator. We maintained heating airflow to balance any heat flow loss, and the heat flux was remotely monitored to allow the temperature to be adjusted accordingly as various trades brought cold building materials and equipment inside that were previously stored in the open air. The end result? The building temperature was constantly kept above 53℉ and, compared to conventional heating, our radiant systems transmitted heat 15% more efficiently. 

Humidity control

If your environment is particularly wet as well as cold then humidity can also be an issue during winter. With heavy rainfall, water vapor can permeate a building structure and bring extra moisture in from the outside. Building materials brought in from a wet and cold environment can then release their moisture into the air as they warm up and dry out. And depending on the nature of your site, there may be various processes that generate moisture and contribute to the overall humidity. As well as being potentially damaging to the building and construction materials, excess humidity is uncomfortable for workers and is likely to lead to a downturn in productivity.

As well as heating control, Aggreko has humidity control solutions to combat this and keep you fully productive and on schedule. Our experts can advise on the right dehumidifiers and fans to complement your heating solution based on the levels of moisture within your site. Aggreko’s Environmental Conditions Monitoring allows you to keep track of both temperature and humidity so you can quickly make adjustments and avoid the possibility of mold growth or paint damage.

Emergency and backup heating

If your construction site is based in an existing building, especially an older one, planned maintenance of the currently installed heating system is inevitable. You may even find yourself in an emergency situation when there is an unexpected failure with this equipment. The last thing you need is to put your project on hold whilst essential maintenance or repairs are carried out - even a short delay can have huge implications for your schedule and result in a significant increase in costs.

Aggreko can provide reliable and cost-effective temporary heating for both potable (domestic hot water) and non-potable water applications. Our heaters are designed to interface directly with a building’s permanent distribution systems, vents, or radiators, and the open atmosphere ventilation means there is no need for an on-site technician. They all come with smart control to optimize temperature regulation and minimize emissions. They run on propane, natural gas, or diesel, and with our vast fleet available at strategic hubs, they can be delivered and installed rapidly in the case of an emergency.

Plan ahead, be prepared

Cold temperatures needn’t cause expensive delays to your construction project. Get in touch with Aggreko and we’ll help you plan ahead and be prepared for any weather.

Check out this case study to learn more about how Aggreko can help you find the perfect heating solution for your project.