Excerpt from Providence Business News
As snow fell on Providence during the first significant storm of the winter, a construction worker in a bright orange lift toiled on windows on a science and technology addition at Lincoln School.
Within days, as temperatures plunged, workers piled on the layers at construction sites around the state, and kept going.
There was a time when snow or below-freezing temperatures brought heavy construction to a stop, particularly on projects that had yet to be enclosed. No more. The all-season construction industry is in full public view across Rhode Island, as projects with set completion dates move forward.
Mike Sanchez, chief of construction operations for Shawmut Design and Construction, said the winter storm that struck the Northeast in early January disrupted most of the Boston-based company’s work sites, but only temporarily.
“A lot more projects stopped 30 years ago than today,” he said, of the impact of winter weather. “With the new technologies that are in place, and different practices that we use, construction is pretty much a 12-month-a-year [effort].”
That doesn’t mean it’s easy, or inexpensive. All the budgets and estimates for projects that feature a winter component consider the cost of industrial heaters, heavy, insulated tarps to block open windows or to fully wrap a building, and additional time for worker breaks.
Some changes in techniques and materials also have allowed work to press on. Concrete can be set at lower temperatures with additives. Portable, industrial heaters allow workers to continue their work in buildings without heavy gloves.