Planning Pre Engineered Steel Buildings for a Winter Build

Planning Pre Engineered Steel Buildings for a Winter Build

Erecting pre engineered steel buildings in winter requires careful planning in order to meet expected timelines.

For obvious reasons, it is almost always preferable to erect pre engineered steel buildings in summer, rather than winter. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to pull off a successful project in winter, it just requires a little more planning.

In an ideal world, winter is actually the time when you’d want to begin the planning process for a pre engineered steel building. That way, everything is ready to go when the weather improves in spring. However, there are reasons why clients choose to build in winter, including: 

  • Business schedule demands
  • Contractor availability
  • Less demand for prefab buildings equals potential price breaks from suppliers

If you find yourself in this situation, here are some things you’ll want to account for during the planning process. By being prepared ahead of your expected delivery date, you’ll save yourself a great deal of time and trouble during erection process.


Inclement Weather

Canadians are no strangers to winter weather. We drive in it, we work in it, and we play in it. And you can expect to encounter it in most parts of Western Canada anytime between October and April. That includes:

  • Heavy snow
  • Extreme cold
  • Gusting winds
  • Sleet and rain
  • Fog

Project delays are a lot more common because:

  • Workers need to bundle up and are less mobile
  • Snow buildup can hinder progress
  • Daylight hours are shorter in winter 

It can take several weeks for the design process to unfold, plus time to manufacture and deliver the steel building kit to your site. There’s no way to predict what the weather will be like, so it’s a good idea to allow a little extra time in your project timeline for weather-related delays.


Material Storage

In order to protect the materials of your pre engineered steel building, it’s advisable to store them out of the harsh winter elements. In particular, you’ll want to take extra care of things like: 

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Insulation

Other materials such as columns, beams and roof panels should be raised off the ground and stacked on a slight incline to prevent pooling water.


Concrete Foundation

Before pre engineered steel buildings can be built, concrete foundation needs to be poured. The challenge of doing this in winter is that freezing temperatures can lead to frost heaving, moisture buildup and other foundational issues.

Once poured, concrete foundation requires a cure time of about 72 hours. Cold temperatures can hinder this process, or stall it altogether. This can result in weakened foundation strength, and could also lead to potentially costly repairs.

If you were planning for a winter build, the best course of action would be to pour your foundation in fall while the weather is still favourable. Otherwise, you’ll need to take the appropriate steps to protect it against freezing temperatures.


To get a better handle on how the building process works, read: Pre Engineered Steel Buildings: Understanding the Planning Process.


No matter what time of year it is, Metal Structure Concepts has the skill, manpower and experience to erect pre engineered steel buildings quickly and efficiently. Call us to obtain steel building prices.