How do you cope with working in winter? Eurocell Champion, Chris Smith, explains all!
Does the cold weather present any unique challenges when it comes to installations?
You definitely have to plan more! Every day we check the week's weather report - if it's very windy or rainy we may have to postpone a job. If we're installing an Equinox for example, we won't be able to do the first stage of the project if it's raining as we risk exposing the interior of the property when we remove the original roof. On the first day of the job we will make sure the weather is dry and at the end of the day all of our work is watertight. This is all part and parcel of the job and as the project manager for most of our jobs, I enjoy planning.
Other than that, we can really work in any conditions - we even installed an Equinox in the snow last year. We just had to make sure we’d installed the roof itself before the snow got too heavy!
How can you go about overcoming these challenges?
As mentioned, it's all about planning. As well as seeing if we can do the job on that day, we also plan each element of the installation to a tee so that we are on target to be in a place where the installation is watertight by the end of the day.
It can also be difficult getting deliveries organised, on time and in full in winter. Rain, ice and snow all cause traffic and sometimes they’re delayed. This can delay an entire job, which has a knock-on effect on all our other work. Luckily, we work very closely with Eurocell and we are in regular contact with them regarding all deliveries, so we know exactly when our products are arriving and can plan accordingly. They also deliver to site which helps as it reduces the number of miles the product needs to travel before being installed.
How do you go about keeping warm in the winter?
You have to adjust what you are wearing to correspond with the weather. Obviously when working outside in the winter, or if it is raining, we have to wear appropriate clothing to ensure that we keep warm all day. This clothing can sometimes be a bit more restrictive and make jobs a little harder to complete so we need to take this into account and leave ourselves extra time to complete the job. Generally speaking however, the work we do is quite labour intensive so we warm up throughout the day. We’ll start the day wearing six layers and will get warmer and warmer as the day goes on, so it's not too bad.
Saying that, we have a bloke on site at the moment who is still wearing shorts now!
Do you try and change the types of jobs you have in winter?
We always do the jobs that our customers want us to so we wouldn't turn down work just because it is winter. We do see a slight change in the types of jobs that are requested as the seasons change but you’d be surprised - people want work doing all year round. Sometimes, we see bi-fold doors requested more regularly as spring approaches, as people use their gardens more in summer, but generally, it’s quite consistent all year round. We even have an Equinox installation booked in for the first week in December.
So, do you have to change your hours when working in winter?
With the cold weather also comes darker evenings and at this time of year you are fighting for daylight. Come 3:30pm, we're approaching dusk and often will be working on a house with no electricity so we can't use lighting. It can be unsafe, and sometimes impossible, to be on a building site in the dark so we have to finish earlier. This means planning every element of a project and giving ourselves multiple deadlines throughout the day to meet to ensure we do this.
So, there we have it! How do you adapt your working style in the winter? Let us know in the comments below.