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Calgary Construction Association updates cold weather construction best practices

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by Richard Gilbert

A Gold Seal course in cold weather construction was launched across Canada by the Calgary Construction Association (CCA) this fall after the original manual was reviewed and updated for best business practices.
Calgary Construction Association updates cold weather construction best practices

"Really what we are trying to do is share information in order to have a generalized understanding in the construction industry about the planning that is necessary for cold weather and some of the risk factors that are associated with it," said Jason Wedholm, a senior site superintendent with Clark Builders. "We have been talking about updating this manual for about 16 to 18 months and now we are going to roll it out as a resource to local construction associations."

The CCA developed the new Cold Weather Construction Manual and rolled out the new course this fall in sessions held in Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Grand Prairie and Ottawa.

Wedholm, who has 14 years of experience supervising projects in Alberta and B.C., is one of the course instructors.

"Operating a construction site in winter obviously has a big safety component associated with it," he said. "There are also costs associated with operating in cold weather."

The course covered the following topics: cold weather costs and indicators; frost, foundations and earthworks; cold weather concreting; curing blankets, hoarding and temporary enclosures; fuels and burners; temporary heating and ventilation by use of permanent installations; and tips for minimizing costs and complications.

During each session participants were required to work in teams to create a Winter Construction Plan. This course is Gold-Seal Certified and qualifies for 1 Gold Seal credit.

"Back in the early 1990s, the CCA worked with a group called the Alberta Construction Technology Centre (ACTC), which was only in existence for a couple of years in 1991 and 1992," said Dave Smith, president, CCA. "The intent of the ACTC was to offer educational seminars and workshops. But, when they closed down their operations, we inherited the cold weather construction manual they were working on."

The second edition of the manual was published in 1994, so the course materials were somewhat outdated.

Smith said the updated course deals with a range of issues including productivity and the efficiency of construction, freeze-up dates and spring thaw dates, air freezing indices from across the country, frost penetration and ideas to control costs.

Wedholm was also a member of a CCA committee that ensured the third edition of the Cold Weather Construction Manual included the latest technologies.

Other members of the committee include Paul Barkauskas (Elan), Keith Beggs (New West Equipment), Wellington Evans (Universal Ventilation), Paul Jelleau (Federated Co‐op), Mike Michalezki (Ledcor), Ron Patterson (PCL), Paul Reid (Federated Co‐op) and Barry Young (Burnco).

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