Building in the winter vs. warm weather

HiHoHiHoJuly 5, 2014

Hello all,

We are building a new house in New England. We are hoping to start soon, but as we need to finalize the plans, get approvals from the town and then need to finalize the construction mortgage; it is looking more and more likely that construction will start in the beginning of winter.

With that, is it more expensive to build in the winter than in warm weather? Obviously certain things can't be done in freezing/very cold weather; while others things may simply be more difficult to do. I fear building in the winter will increase our costs significantly.

We are in no rush to move; and can stay in our current apartment longer if needed, but at the same time don't want to delay forever, we are running out of space, and are excited to finally have a house.

Any advice? thoughts? suggestions?

what kind of price difference is there if we do start in the winter vs spring? Will there be delays?


This post was edited by HiHoHiHo on Sat, Jul 5, 14 at 18:51

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Have you asked your builder, or are you going to wait for an expensive change order?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 6:00PM
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Also New England. Boston MetroWest. Have had some preliminary conversations with some contractors and architects regarding a gut remodel/large addition to our house. Have been told we would want the house sealed up by Thanksgiving/early December. After that, most of the work is interior and thus is not weather dependent. Was also told that many trades are less busy in winter, and prices could be a bit lower.

My neighbors recently added a second floor. I was surprised to see their contractor show up in January. Take the roof off, raise the walls and get a new roof on all in a week. Apparently they waited for the long term forecast to show a week of nice weather.

Obviously Northern Maine New England will differ significantly from Connecticut Coast New England. So you would need to talk to some local contractors.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 6:22PM
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Of course it depends on where in New England but in the Boston area if you can break ground by Oct 1 building in the winter should save you money.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:01AM
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    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:29PM
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Hihohiho-we broke ground last September the 7th, hoping to be buttoned up by first snow and hopefully save some due to it not being a busy season. Fast forward and it was the worst winter we have had in years, as in since I think because of that some things cost a bit more because they took longer but I wouldn't say a major increase., I think overall we lost probably 6 weeks due to the weather. We made it, 9 month build. So I guess mother nature has the last word always. Odds of 2 horrible winters back to back? Anybody's guess! We are in Michigan.

I can't say I totally regret it. From the fall to now materials have really jumped around here so it would have cost more anyhow.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 7:39PM
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September is a Fall start. We started a major renovation in early December in the Boston area. The weather did not slow the job any more than any other season but it was very helpful to have a garage to eat and warm up in. All of the contractors were happy to have winter work. Got a discounted price for shingle roofing and because of the temperature the roofer nailed it all by hand.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:18PM
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Am in Hickory, NC, and about to sign construction agreement. My GC says it is less expensive to build in summer than winter such as concrete, heating, etc.
He was rushing me to sign contract to get started.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 6:54AM
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Houses14, that certainly could be true, but as long as your concrete foundation/slab work is complete by Nov/Dec everything else should be about the same. Job site heating could be a factor as well, but we do have some really mild winters in this area too. A factor in favor of a winter build could be time. The winters tend to be drier than the swing seasons and that might result in more working days for the crew.

We are nearby but haven't selected a builder yet. Would love to hear your feedback on your builder. If you don't want to divulge the name, maybe initials would tell me enough.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:51AM
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I've started from March to December in a relatively cold climate (Toronto GTA). As mentioned by others, winter is more expensive--heated concrete, blankets, propane and potentially missed days due to snowstorms, ice storms hydro outages.

The worst was a deep freeze followed by a sudden thaw and rainstorms that collapsed dozens of excavations (including mine) according to the municipal building inspector.

But in each case, the extra costs had to be weighed against the costs of carrying vacant lots and in many cases the costs of alternative residences for the homebuyer.

In New England, I'm sure your builder won't be stumped by a little snow and ice! (Atlanta, a different story.)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:40AM
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We have quotes for connecting our sewer that specify a 20% increase if they have to do it in winter.

We were also thinking January (2014) would be our start, and digging the hole would have been about double.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:35PM
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Sorry - I should clarify. We broke ground in September. Framing did not start until after November 15 - such a wet fall before the winter hit so we didn't get one single 5 day stretch of framing in. So we indeed did frame (some), side and roof in the winter (December-March), not to mention drywall and rough in of plumbing and electrical.

It was a rough and COLD go. We spent hours just blowing out the driveway so subs could get in if they dared show up.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:58PM
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Could you enable message or email feature here in order for me to communicate since we are in the same territory?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:24PM
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Houses14, Done.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 12:05PM
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