Winter Construction Safety Tips

While winter doesn’t stop most construction crews, it can be a dangerous time for workers. Extreme cold, ice, and snow can all create unsafe working conditions, so it’s important for both employers and employees to be well-educated on the best practices for winter construction safety. As you read these tips, bear in mind that worker safety should be prioritized above all else.

Know the Forecast

Winter weather, especially in the Midwest, can turn from mild and sunny to a full-on blizzard in a matter of hours. Employers should be well-informed of the weather, checking the forecast at the beginning of the workday and monitoring it throughout. If a storm is scheduled to hit, inform workers and allow them enough time to travel home in safe driving conditions.

When deciding whether it’s safe for your workers to be outside, don’t forget to consider the Wind Chill. Provide plenty of opportunities for employees to take breaks and warm up in a heated space. If possible, limit their exposure by prioritizing indoor tasks when the weather is less than agreeable. For a more comprehensive reference, check out OSHA’s article on cold stress.

Personal Protective Equipment

In addition to standard construction PPE, winter calls for extra protection from the elements. Layer clothing with moisture-wicking garments on the bottom to prevent getting wet. Clothing should be loose enough to prevent circulation restriction but not so loose as to get in the way of the job.

Boots should be slip-resistant and insulated, and if they are equipped with steel toes, add an extra pair of socks to protect skin from the metal. Most of the body’s heat escapes through the head, so don’t skimp on a hat. Gloves should be insulated but still allow workers to perform their jobs, and it’s not a bad idea to keep an extra pair on hand in case they get soaked. Cheeks and noses are especially susceptible to frostbite, so facemasks or balaclavas should be work in extreme cold.

Temperatures can change quickly, so if removing or adding layers throughout the day, make sure your high visibility clothing is always on the outermost layer.

Conduct Worksite and Equipment Inspections

When arriving at your worksite, clean snow, ice, and icicles off rooftops, walkways, and working surfaces. Look for fallen trees or power lines, and apply sand and salt to surfaces to melt ice and provide workers with grip. Pay attention to weather throughout the day, too; snow may melt and refreeze, creating ice where there was previously none.

Inspect cranes, trucks, and other equipment for ice, especially on the stairs, and clear loose snow off windscreens to ensure operators have full visibility. Make sure cab heating is fully functional, and consider adding emergency winter kits to vehicles; they should contain things like ice scrapers, snow shovels, blankets, water bottles, and basic first aid packs. Some equipment, like hoses, can become stiff and easily breakable in the cold, so warm up equipment properly before using.


Take time to educate workers on proper winter construction safety, including recognizing the signs of frostbite and hypothermia and the importance of taking breaks to warm up. Provide a refresher course on fall protection with increased focus on recognizing slippery conditions and maintaining three points of contact when climbing.

If you’re looking for a company to provide safe, efficient winter construction work, look no further than Landwehr Construction. We’ve served Minnesota and the surrounding areas since 1895 and have prioritized employee safety from the very beginning.

Demolition in the Winter

Winter is here: snow is falling, the ground has frozen, and business owners are scrambling to finish the renovation projects they started in summer and fall. While most people associate demolition projects with every season other than winter, it’s a common misconception that demolition can’t happen in the colder months.

Can Demolition Projects Happen During Winter?

Depending on the size of your project and the specifics of the weather, winter demolition can be completed. Heavy snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are factors which can affect the project, even creating threats to worker safety. The key to combatting this is a trusted company who prioritizes safety and knows the proper techniques to mitigate danger.

That said, it’s also important you remain flexible during the course of the project. With the ever-changing conditions of a Minnesota winter, it’s possible snowstorms or extreme cold could delay the project.

Demolition Projects Suited to Winter

When deciding whether to tackle your demolition project during the winter or wait until spring, consider the scope of your project. Small-scale indoor renovations can easily be done during the winter—things like removing old cabinets, taking out flooring in preparation for replacement, or tearing down a wall. Larger indoor projects can be completed as well, like gutting a commercial space while leaving the exterior untouched.

If your demolition is part of a larger project, taking care of what you can during the winter streamlines the process; knocking down an old exterior balcony in the winter means you’ll be able to start construction immediately come spring.

While it’s true larger-scale projects may be better-suited to spring, most construction companies worth their salt have no trouble accommodating winter demolition. When discussing a potential project, be honest and clear about any time restrictions, and your company will be able to help you decide the best time to begin.

Benefits of Winter Demolition

During the colder months, business slows for construction and demolition companies, so you might be offered lower prices for your winter demolition project. Additionally, companies experience increased availability, giving them more time to prioritize the completion of your project.

Questions about winter demolition? Call the experts at Landwehr Construction at 1-800-456-1284, or visit our website for more information.

Different Types of Cranes and Their Uses

Cranes have been an important tool in construction since early civilizations—Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and ancient Greece—and were used to build temples and provide irrigation to crops. As society has advanced, crane design has been refined and diversified to create ideal models for different jobs.


There are two basic categories modern cranes fall into: static cranes and movable cranes. Static cranes typically have a heavier lifting capacity, while movable cranes offer versatility and convenience.


Not sure which crane you need? Take a look at our post on the factors to consider when choosing the right crane for your job.




Tower cranes are static, fixed into the ground with concrete. Their skyscraping height and heavy lifting capacity make them ideal for constructing tall buildings. The largest tower crane can lift over a million pounds!




Telescopic cranes can be static, though they are often mounted on trucks as well. Telescopic cranes have booms made of several interlocking tubes, allowing the boom to expand and contract to varying lengths. Telescopic cranes are valued for their adaptability and are extremely well-suited to moving things to high places since they can adjust to specific heights.




Overhead cranes, also called suspended or bridge cranes, are set into a track which they can be moved along. Quite often, they’re found in assembly-based jobs, like automobile assembly, and the steel industry.




Crawlers are equipped with rubber treads instead of wheels, which make them the perfect crane for traversing the soft, uneven soil of a fresh construction, where dirt is loose and frequently moved. Crawlers are sometimes equipped with telescopic booms, and they are usually used for longer projects due to their size and need to be transported to and from the site.




Also called crane ships, floating cranes are mounted on water vessels to handle heavy lifts at sea. They are used for offshore construction of brides, ports, and oil rigs and have even been used to raise and recover sunken ships.




The value of truck-mounted cranes is in their mobility. As the names implies, these cranes are attached to a commercial truck, allowing them to travel on highways and eliminating the need for alternative transport. Truck-mounted cranes can’t lift quite as much as some of its larger siblings—only about 50 tons—but their outriggers and counterweights are used to stabilize the machine during a lift, making them a reliable option for smaller jobs.




Rough-terrain cranes, similar to crawlers, are used for construction on difficult ground, but they have wheels instead of treads. In addition, they’re equipped with a telescopic boom and four-wheel drive, so they can switch easily from on-road to off-road construction.




All terrain cranes possess the mobility of truck-mounted cranes and are able to travel at speed on public roads. They also have the capabilities of rough-terrain cranes, about to handle jobs on both solid and uneven ground.


Landwehr Construction’s fleet of over 30 cranes include rough-terrain and all-terrain cranes to handle a wide variety of jobs. Ready to take on your next project? We’re ready to help. Give Landwehr Construction a call

Piles vs. Piers vs. Anchors

Helical anchors are used to repair existing or stabilize new foundations. Boasting easy, quick installation and little soil disturbance, helical solutions thread deep into the ground in order to transfer weight to load-bearing soil.


When discussing deep foundation solutions, the terms “helical piles,” “helical piers,” and “helical anchors” are used so interchangeably, it can be hard to determine the difference. Let’s clear up the confusion when it comes to deep foundation solutions.


Helical Piles


Helical piles are capable of supporting vertical and horizontal loads in both compression and tension situations. They provide structural support by transferring the structure’s weight to deeper, sturdier soil layers.


Piles are typically constructed of steel, concrete, wood, or a combination of the three.


Helical Piers


Piers and piles have the same function—to provide structural support—but they differ from each other in two main ways. Firstly, piers have a larger minimum diameter. They’re defined by the Deep Foundation Institute as being “large enough to permit manual inspection,” implying the minimum diameter of a pier would be around two feet.


Secondly, piers, by definition, do not use steel or wood in their construction. Even if an anchor’s diameter is over two feet, it’s only considered a pier if it’s made from concrete or masonry, otherwise it remains a pile.




While the difference between piers and piles is blurry, anchors are quite distinct. Piers and piles are defined by the construction of the foundation solution, both in size and composition. An “anchor” simply refers to specific use in a tension or uplift situation—they are defined by the way they’re used.


In some cases, piers and piles can also be considered anchors, so long as they are being used in a tension or uplift application.


Anchors can be used horizontally (called “tiebacks”) or vertically (called “anchor piles”), and are frequently utilized in the construction of cantilevers.


Of course, while it’s important to understand the terminology, what really matters is making the right choice to stabilize your foundation. We can help! Landwehr Construction is a member of the Deep Foundation Institute, and with our years of experience and certified installers, we’re ready to assist with all your helical anchor needs.

Construction in the Fall

The temperatures have dropped as we transition from summer to fall. Fewer construction crews are seen on the road as we await the upcoming frigid winter. Building in the fall may seem counterproductive because of the colder weather, but it is actually a great time to start your building projects. Costs may be lower and the weather is mild.



The mild weather in the fall is ideal for working outside. The temperatures are not scorching nor are they too cold just yet. Unlike other seasons where the threat of thunderstorms or other severe weather patterns loom large, there typically won’t be full days lost while waiting for the weather to clear in the fall months.


Ground Projects

Fall is the ideal time for foundation and excavation projects because the soil is dry. This allows contractors to easily remove roots and weeds that could be problematic in your foundation down the road if not removed.


Increased Productivity

The cooler temperatures are also much easier to work in. There may be fewer daylight hours, but the hot summer sun can be both exhausting and daunting. Crews can typically work more efficiently during the fall because of this.


Cheaper Materials

Demand isn’t nearly as high in the fall. Because of this, building materials may be cheaper. You can really take advantage of this if you are working on multiple building projects.


Quick Permits

You will find that obtaining permits for fall building projects is typically faster. Local government agencies that provide permits are not as busy as they are during the summer months, so you’ll likely receive the go ahead to proceed with your project quicker than you would in the summer months.



We are happy to work on all your fall building projects.

History of Cranes

Did you know that Landwehr Construction has been in business for 125 years? We began providing Minnesota and the surrounding areas with crane service beginning in the 1950s. In the last seven decades, cranes and their capabilities have certainly changed. Let’s learn a little more about their origins.



The idea for cranes dates back to 1500 BC when the ancient Mesopotamians used compound pulley systems. These pulley systems were used to lift equipment as large as an entire warship. The systems relied on manpower or donkeys, which could be considered a pitfall in itself, as the process was slow and stationary. Eventually, capstans and winches were used. As the use of gears increased, there was a natural move toward crane development. The ancient Greeks are credited with inventing cranes in 515 BC, but research shows that some of the crane types being used by the ancient Romans were more effective.


Early Cranes

Treadwheel cranes were introduced in 1225. Harbor cranes were used as early as 1244. Windlasses powered the cranes, where they were predominantly used in harbors and at mining and building sites.


Hydraulic Cranes

Not until the 15th century was hydraulic technology considered for crane use. Prior to that, cranes were hand-powered, despite the fact that hydraulic technology was being used in other areas (water wheels, irrigation systems).  Cranes were made with iron in the 19th century and quickly started utilizing steam power instead of hand-power. The hydraulic cranes of today are much more sophisticated than those in the 19th century. Specifications and materials have improved and cranes can take on larger capacities.


Modern Cranes

The cranes today are highly specialized, including railway road cranes, mobile cranes, telescopic cranes, tower cranes, rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes, and truck mounted cranes. Load capacities are high and booms extend up to hundreds of feet.


While Landwehr Construction may have started with just a few small truck cranes, we’ve certainly grown exponentially in the years since. We are happy to offer our clients a fleet of over thirty cranes, including rough terrain and all terrain cranes, and the powerhouse AC 350. Learn more about what we have to offer!


Assessing Soil Quality

So you’re ready to start a new project? It’s time to start digging and planting, right? Wrong! There are a few steps you have to take before you can start your project, and one of those things is assessing soil quality.


Soil assessment and soil correction—what are they?

Soil assessment is the acting of matching the quality of the soil and its properties to the specific use of the soil. This is most often practiced for agricultural land that will be used to grow crops, but there are other industries where soil assessment is required too.


Soil correction is the process of cleaning, clearing, removing, and/or remediating soil that is not suitable for the property or industry that is being developed. If, after a soil assessment, the soil properties do not meet the requirements of what the land will be used for, it will need to be corrected.


How is it measured?

It is difficult to specifically measure the quality of the soil, so indicators of soil health are used. Experts measure how well the soil is performing using chemical, biological, and physical indicators. Both qualitative or quantitative measures can be used. Measurements are taken at different times and observed for patterns. One soil health is determined, the process of correcting the soil can begin.


How is it corrected?

Soil can be corrected using a variety of methods. Oftentimes, the soil pH (the soil’s acidity or alkalinity) needs to be adjusted. Professionals may lime the soil to neutralize its acidity and make it suitable for the use of the land. On the end of the spectrum, the acidity of the soil may need to be raised to suit the crops being grown. Is soil has been contaminated, it may need to be removed entirely.



The process of determining a soil’s health and then correcting it is an important process because crops will not grow if the soil is not suitable. Depending on how acidic or alkaline the soil is, plants may not be able to absorb the nutrients they need.



At Landwehr Construction based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, we are happy to work on your soil assessment and soil correction projects.

Repairing Site Foundations


What happens when your building or home has a faulty foundation? There are a few common signs that will let you know that there are problems with your foundation. You may see cracks or other types of fractures, there could be settling, sinking, or even upheaval with sagging and uneven floors. You may notice doors don’t open and close like they should, and there may even be gaps around the doors or windows. At Landwehr Construction, we are happy to fix your foundation or build a new foundation for your project.


Foundation repair depends largely upon what type of building you are in and the land it sits on. Foundation repair used to consist of simply using concrete, but the last few decades have welcomed several new options for foundation repair that have revolutionized the process. Newer options include:


  • Steel piers
  • Helical piers
  • Concrete piers
  • Segmented piers
  • Spot piers
  • High-density polyurethane foam


Each of these options offers different advantages and price ranges. The installation of steel piers is technical and data-driven, but it does not disturb the environment around it too much and can be completed more quickly than other methods. Helical piers are great because they can be used for new construction or for repairing foundations; they are very versatile. Concrete piers can also be used for new builds or for foundation repairs. High-density polyurethane foam is a great option if you are looking for a quick, affordable repair. Spot piers are great for smaller builds, like porches.


At Landwehr Construction, we can provide installation, engineering, and design-build options for your foundation repairs and new construction projects. We utilize helical anchors and piers, soil screws, and tiebacks for soil stabilization projects and deep foundation systems. We can even implement these methods on temporary structural stability projects. We use state-of-the-art equipment that helps us get the job done safely and efficiently.


We take on projects of all sizes. Contact us to learn more.


Operating Your Crane in Extreme Temperatures and Weather

Whether it’s extremely cold out or hot out, it’s important to take special care with your crane. Cranes are incredibly powerful, which means that if something goes wrong with them due to extreme temperatures, they can do some serious damage. You need to be aware of extreme weather conditions all year round—whether it’s snow, hail, wind, rain, or extreme temperatures—so you can keep your employees safe and your crane in good working order.


Rain and Lightning

Now that we’re in the middle of summer, you can expect plenty of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Lightning poses a major risk, as cranes that are high up in the air have an increased risk of being struck. Once you hear thunder, you can expect that lightning isn’t far behind, and you should turn off all electrical power and lower the boom. Everyone should get to safety for the duration of the storm. When the lightning ends, that doesn’t mean you can go back to work immediately. Check for damage to the crane first. If the crane was struck by lightning, the high temperature can cause the rope to melt, so it will need to be fixed prior to resuming work. You must also consider that heavy rain can infiltrate different parts of the crane and cause a whole slew of other problems, especially if water gets into the clutch or the brakes. It’s best to take cover and shelter the crane during heavy rain, if possible. Lost time can be lost money, but safety should take precedence.



Extreme winds can be just another symptom of a thunderstorm, but they can also sneak up on you when the skies are clear. Wind is possibly the most damaging element for a crane to withstand. It can make the crane’s load swing. Not only does this put extra strain on the crane, the load can be dropped. Depending on where the wind hits the crane, it can cause problems with backward or forward stability. Every crane has a wind rating, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid operating your crane if the wind speed is at 20 miles per hour or higher.


Hot Temperatures

Heat may not be as dangerous for your crane as say, wind, but it can cause issues with your crane’s seals. If a seal breaks, parts can break. Dust is common when it’s hotter out, and dust can infiltrate your filters. To combat this, clean and lubricate your crane’s parts regularly. If possible, try to keep your crane out of direct sunlight on scorching hot days.


Cold Temperatures

Cold temperatures can be a major problem for crane operators, even causing the crane to fail entirely. The overhead hydraulic system can have problems depending on the weight of the load. You will need to take extra precautions in extreme cold. Consider adding cold weather finish, using conductor bars, and purchasing a cold-weather motor. You will also want to be wary of ice and snow.



If you encounter any of these weather patterns while working, follow these guidelines for safety and any applicable company policies.


Working Safely in the Heat

The temperatures have been rising to make it an uncomfortably hot summer. For the people that work outside in the heat—we’re talking to you, construction workers—it can be especially difficult. While many people work safely in their air-conditioned offices or homes, construction workers have to endure the elements. If you don’t follow safe practices, the risk for heat stroke and other heat-related disorders rises quickly. Here are a few tips to stay safe in the heat:


Stay Hydrated

This is the most common-sense tip on the list, but staying hydrated is of the utmost importance while working in the heat. Not only should you take a break at least a few times an hour to drink water, you should make sure you drink a glass or two of water before you begin the work day. Make sure you aren’t relying on liquids that can easily dehydrate you, like caffeinated beverages and alcohol.


Take Breaks

You should take breaks to drink water, but you also need to take breaks to get out of the sun. If you can’t go into an air-conditioned place, at least get in the shade.


Pace Yourself

Your job is naturally very physical, but don’t overwork yourself. Work at a safe pace so you don’t overdo it, get sick, and make a mistake.


Wear Protective Clothing

The clothing you wear can have a big impact on how well you do working in the heat. Wear loose, light-colored, clothing that is lightweight. If it is moisture-wicking, that’s a nice bonus. You don’t want to wear anything super dark that will attract the sun. Carry a damp rag with you if you can to place around your neck and wipe your face.


Use Sunscreen

This one is a no-brainer. Wear sunscreen and apply it regularly to avoid nasty sunburns and sun damage.


Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know!