The Centra Homes Blog

Building in Minnesota: 5 Reasons Winter Construction Makes Sense

December 15th, 2019

Many homebuilders lack the will or resources for construction in the winter months.  Centra Homes is not one of them. This approach can work definitively to a homebuyer’s advantage.

Minnesotans are a hearty lot, unafraid to let a little weather stand in the way of leisure activities– the Twin Cities regularly playing host to outdoor festivals, ice fishing tournaments, and other excuses to get outside in winter.   

Yet when it comes to building a home, our sales team reports more than a few cold-weather questions from those same hearty Minnesotans:

  • Will an early snow delay my project?
  • Can you build in the winter? 
  • Should you build in the winter?

The answer is that it is not only possible to build year-round in Minnesota, there are some distinct advantages to building a new home in winter.

Five reasons winter building makes sense

1. The Majority of the Work Building a Home is Completed Indoors

Particularly from the middle of a project timeline on, most construction work is done within the structure itself.  This means that a partially constructed home wrapped in a vapor barrier and warmed by temporary heat allows a large majority of tradesmen to complete their work.  This ensures that the bulk of work can be completed in nearly any temperature.

2. Increased Availability of Workers can Speed Up Work

Since some builders in our area are seasonal and run skeleton crews in colder months, the pool of workers available for our projects has the potential to grow in the winter.  This has the option of fewer delays that can help in reducing costs.

3. Snow Generally has less of an Impact to a Project than Rain

One of the biggest challenges to building is moisture.  In this realm Snow has at least three distinct advantages over rain

  • Snow generally falls during low humidity thereby limiting the damaging aspects of airborne moisture 
  • Frozen snow is much easier to control via tarping
  • Snow is insulating and can keep ground temperatures steady even as air temperatures fall

Because of this, a snowy winter is preferable to incredibly wet conditions for builders.

 4. Science has Identified our Limitations

The major limitation to exterior work related to cold are in the excavation and concrete pouring stage.  The great news here is that these are well-understood and regulated today. Technology and science both play a role here.  By carefully monitoring surface temperatures, insulating the ground, using concrete additives and taking other simple precautions the risks of cold weather to any project are fairly easy to mitigate.

5. Permits and Delays can be Less Likely

The cost associated with every construction project is largely driven by time and materials.  While the latter of these is largely out of the control of a builder, the former is not. By limiting delays and keeping to a meticulous timeline with contingencies, builders can deliver on time and on budget.  In winter, several of the wildcards related to pulling permits and availability of workers are reduced. This can reduce approval timelines.

 The Bottom Line

As with anything complex in nature, when it comes to construction, wisdom trumps all.  An experienced builder employing scores of skilled workers who have dealt with all types of weather across 100’s of projects is the key to success no matter the season.

At Centra Homes we’ve completed over $250 million in new construction since 2011, designing and building quality construction new homes for over 800 families across 28 suburbs.  We have experience with weather, municipal governments and every other aspect of the business. 

In short, while we may not be able to ensure you that this winter will be mild, we can assure you that we’ll be working the entire time.

Posted in