Plan for Success: 5 Reasons to Start Your Building Project in the Winter

In Canada, we are fortunate to have such variety in our climate throughout the year and across the country – though, I might say otherwise if you asked me about our climate in January. For those involved in construction, this poses a real challenge. Most construction is done when the ground is soft, and the air is warm during the Spring and Summer months – and in Canada, we’re lucky if we get a full 6 months of conditions like these.

The Permit Process

One of the first steps in planning a new building is to make sure you understand your local zoning and municipal bylaws. You need to know what you can build, where you can build it, and what size it can be. All this information can easily be gathered through a quick visit to your municipal permit office.

In fact, in most municipalities if your structure is larger than a certain size you’ll have to receive permit approval for your building before you start construction, so it’s always a good idea to start your construction journey with a visit to your local permit office.

In the off-season, the permit process is usually far faster than during peak construction season. Assuming all your documents are in order and your building plan is up to code, permit approval can take as little as a week during the winter months. However, during the Spring or Summer months, it’s almost a certainty that your local permit office will be backed up with last-minute requests for review. If you submit your plans for review at this time of year, it’s very likely your request will be at the bottom of a backlogged pile of other permit requests – we’ve seen permit office backlogs delay building projects for months, and even up to a year!

Since permit offices are run by the city in which they are located, you’ll have to check with your local office on exactly what documents they require to approve your permit. However, there are a handful of documents you’ll almost certainly need to bring with you, and we’ll cover these in our next blog post.

5 Reasons to Start Your Construction Project During the Winter

Here are five reasons you should start planning for your building project in the winter:

1. Faster Permit Approval

Local permit offices become overloaded with requests during the spring and summer months. By waiting until the summer to file your permit request you could be delaying your construction project by anywhere from a few months to a full year! If you’re planning for a spring, summer, or even fall construction project, do yourself the favour of checking in with your local permit office as early as possible.

2. Faster Engineering Process

Permit drawings that are stamped by a Certified Engineer for your province will be requested from your permit office and required for approval. During the off-season, these drawings can be completed in as little as one week, but in the busier months these drawings can take up to five weeks because of backlog. It is also possible for the permit office to approve a project only after changes to the engineered drawings have been completed and brought back for review. If you’re revising your drawings, this could set you back another three weeks!

3. Faster Material Fabrication

In the summer months manufacturing plants become inundated with orders. It’s not uncommon for a building that would take 4-6 weeks to manufacture off-season, to take double the time to fabricate during the summer – just because of the backlog. By getting your engineered drawings completed and having your building permit approved as early as possible, your building will be first in-line for fabrication. Better yet, organize your time and schedule your delivery date months in advance so you can be totally prepared and in control of your construction schedule.

4. More, and Better, Contractor Options

Most contractors – and certainly the best ones – book their spring and summer construction projects months ahead of time. By waiting until the summer months roll around to begin your search for a contractor, you’ll be missing out on many of the great contractors out there who are already booked solid.  In addition, because their time is so valuable in the summer months, many contractors will charge more for jobs they agree to fit in to their already busy schedules.

5. Lower Prices

If none of the time-saving tips outlined here have convinced you, then maybe an appeal to your wallet will! During the winter months, building pricing is often far better than it is during the spring or summer months. Because the goal is to keep manufacturing plants busy year-round, customers can benefit from lower pricing and special offers on accessories. So, by starting your summer construction project in the winter, you’ll save on both time and money!

Final Note

Understanding the impact of seasonality on construction projects will help you plan around the weather and set yourself up for a successful project. At Norsteel, we are committed to working with you throughout the entire project, from design to fabrication, so you can be sure you are getting the best possible building for your needs. Contact us if you have any questions or want to get started on your next project today!

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