James Paterak Discusses His Top Tips for Building in Winter

James Paterak - Building in Winter (1)

North Dakota builder James Paterak recently discussed his top tips for building in winter.


Bismarck, North Dakota / Northerners know that work doesn’t stop just because the weather is cold. Many outdoor building projects, in addition to indoor ones, continue in the freezing cold winter. James Paterak is a project manager and builder from Bismarck, North Dakota, and he recently discussed his top tips for building homes during the cold winter months.

“Cold weather is more common than warm weather here in Bismarck, so builders have had to adapt their practices, so they can continue working even when the frigid temperatures hit,” James Paterak said.

James Paterak (28)James Paterak first explained that it takes an experienced contractor to build a quality home during the winter months. He stated that your contractor would need to have a definite plan and work as efficiently as possible. It’s easy for winter construction projects to take much longer than expected if a clear strategy is not in place. This can result in unnecessary additional costs.

“Builders need to constantly be aware of what is being built and protect those areas as well as possible,” James Paterak said. “You can’t let the ground freeze during the pouring, digging, and back-filling stages.”

James Paterak explained that if you build while the ground is frozen, your house will settle and move when the soil thaws. This can result in severe structural issues. The ground can be kept unfrozen by using extra insulation and heaters.

“It’s important to be prepared for the building process to take longer,” James Paterak said. “The daylight hours are fewer, and some time on the job site may be spent digging and cleaning snow.”

James Paterak explained that nearly everything about winter makes the process move a bit slower. Even the thick clothing workers have to wear to stay warm can keep them from moving as quickly as they usually would.

James Paterak added that there are several advantages to building in winter as well. Permits can be received more quickly because government agencies granting permits are generally less busy. You’ll also be in your new home more quickly if you start building in winter rather than waiting for spring. Spring is also the most popular time to build, so you may find that the demand for materials is higher, resulting in higher prices, and scheduling is more difficult.

“Building in the winter months is entirely possible and can keep construction teams employed in months that are often dull,” James Paterak said. “The most important thing is to insulate well and not be afraid to pay for heat, as you’ll need the foundation to set correctly, so you can move forward with the remaining parts of the home that are not as affected by the cold.”