Raging winter puts construction projects on hold - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Raging winter puts construction projects on hold

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - The winter that just won't quit has the everyday Iowan about ready to scream, and now Mother Nature throws a wrench into the construction business.

While home sales are up despite the bitter cold, actually building and working on homes is a different story. Koch Construction in Cedar Falls does both industrial and commercial work along with remodeling. Jeff Koch with the company said the continuous negative temperatures in the forecast poses multiple challenges, like getting equipment to operate properly. He said problems this winter have included loaders breaking down, trucks not starting and running into frozen ground.

Man power is also affected in extreme conditions, as one winter advisory after another keeps many workers inside.

"If you can even do anything outside, the productivity goes way down just because they've got to take breaks to stay warm and wear the appropriate clothing, which makes just the movement difficult," Koch said.

The shorter, remodeling projects become hindered as well. Koch said sometimes the company can't even replace railings or doors on a property due to freezing weather.

Koch said this time last year, work was slower, but in better conditions. While this year, calls and contracts are rolling in with at least tolerable working conditions no where in sight.

"That might be the biggest challenge, is right now, we'd expect to be going a little stronger in the field than we are just due to this prolonged winter."

And for those planning to build a home in spring or summer... Two words of advice - start early. Koch said people should get the ball rolling now, as there will likely be considerable backlog once winter is over. 

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