8 Important Items To Include in Your Winter Protection Plan

In the words of everyone’s favourite HBO character John Snow “Winter is coming”. For those of you in warm climates, consider yourself lucky, for those of you like us that live in colder climates, it’s time to start planning if you haven’t already. Each year we have a season that demands the most of our construction projects. From making logistics more difficult, freezing liquids, making certain surfaces incompatible winter is a challenging time to work.

Before winter comes you should already have a plan in place on how to deal with the change in conditions. This week we’re running you through eight things that need to be part of your winter protection plan.

A Schedule

Winter is a fickle thing. It could be here tomorrow and gone the next day. As such you need to plan for the worst. Your winter heating plan should include a schedule showing when you will start to implement the different components of your plan. Consider phasing your approach, at the start of the winter you won’t need to heat as much as you will in the middle of it.

Temporary Protection for Services

How will you protect critical services for your construction site? Cold freezes things, as such you need to take care that piping containing liquids is kept warm. This includes standpipes, sprinkler systems, domestic water, sanitary lines, and lots of others. Make sure these are properly heated and/or protected from cold temperatures.

Temporary Winter Protection Structures

As well as protecting temporary services, building temporary structures to keep the cold out can be just as important as providing heating. A building will generate heat naturally so you should aim to keep in whatever you can. Temporary insulated walls at large openings in the envelope, tarps to keep wind out are good ways to control the elements in and out of your building.

winter protection - snow removal


Snow Removal Procedures

How will snow be removed from the various areas of your jobsite? There’s a misconception that snow removal is a simple process. If your jobsite is a tight site getting a bob-cat or piece of equipment in to remove the snow may not be an option. In addition, slab capacities need to be checked constantly when bringing in equipment. Make sure the plan outlines how you’ll be removing snow and where it will be stored / how it will be dealt with.

Type of Heating

What is the type of heating you’ll be using in your winter protection plan? This is one of the most important items of the list. Will the existing building units be used to heat the space? If so what type of protection should be installed on them to protect them from construction dust and debris? Will you be using temporary heaters, if so what will they be, propane? Natural Gas? Electric? Steam? Each of the above requires different safety requirements be in place.

Fuel and Frequency

Once you’ve decided on what type of heater you’ll be using understanding the fuel source and frequency of re-fuelling / inspection is next up. Will the heaters be fed from the existing building service, temporarily from a main tank or individual tanks or fed from existing building power? Do heaters need both power and fuel or is it a fuel only item? Theres lot’s to consider when choosing a fuel source. Make sure to read the regulations on dealing with the fuel type, empty and full cannisters and any inspection requirements.

One final item to understand is who pays for consumption. Many construction contracts will put the consumption of services on the owners plate to pay for. If you’re buying the propane or natural gas through temporary tanks there may be an opportunity to go back to the owner for a hand out in paying for some of it.

winter protection - heaters


A Proper Emergency Response Plan

Consider updating your emergency response plan that you should have developed at the start of the project . If you haven’t done so, don’t worry we’ve got an article to help you out with your emergency response plan. But let’s face it, things change in winter and your emergency response plan should be updated to reflect those changes and your most recent winter protection strategies.

Inspection Requirements

Your winter heating protection plan should include a regular inspection for all of the components in your plan to make sure they are in place. The checklist should include fuel storage requirements, heater requirements and making sure they are clean and free of debris, temporary construction requirements in place and maintained. Anything critical to the survival of your building should be included in this inspection.

If you don’t have temporary fire protection in your building, maintaining a fire watch may be a requirement. If so know the frequency and come up with a way of monitoring progress for it.

That’s it for our items to include in your winter protection plan, what are some of the items you include in yours? Leave them in the comments below!

Leave a Comment