Cold, winter weather seems to finally have caught up with us here in the Southeast and those that work outdoors are feeling it. 

Dave Siemens from Kleefeld Construction says frigid temperatures certainly make his crew’s lives challenging. 

“We have a kind of loose agreement that if it's colder than minus 25, we stay home, or at least we try to find work that is somewhat sheltered, because after that the air tools don't work and things are just not efficient. So that's a little bit of a guideline. But the guys bundle up and they are pretty hearty, and they go out there every day." 

Siemens says some jobs are tougher than others in these types of extreme conditions

“The concrete guys and the framing guys, they almost never get to work in the warmth because their jobs are getting the structure up where there's no ability to heat. So, when it becomes minus 30 or 35, it just doesn't even work at all, so then they stay home.” 

Kleefeld Construction also has three electricians on payroll and Siemens notes they aren’t actually allowed to work in extremely cold conditions. He says “they're not allowed to actually because the wires start cracking and become dangerous.” 

Of course, he notes most projects can be tarped off and heated, but there or limitations to that as well.  

Meanwhile, Erwin Plett from Springwood Homes based in Steinbach says his crews are prepared for this cold spell. He notes “It definitely becomes more challenging as it gets colder, but it's not something that we have never been through in previous years. We have figured out how to get ourselves set up and prepared for those conditions” 

Echoing Siemens, Plett says frigid winter temperatures do hamper efficiency. 

“Certainly, there will not be as high efficiency rates for all the guys working in the field. That's definitely the case when it gets so cold, but we try to make it as efficient as possible and as productive as possible.” 

With all that said, Plett and Siemens agree, so far, this winter has been kind to those working in the construction industry. 

Siemens adds “Let me say it's being a very mild winter, we're very thankful for that. What are we, half done the winter? We can do this.” 

Kleefeld Costruction projectKleefeld Construction is currently working on an addition to their building. Photo submitted by Kleefeld Construction.