Winter Construction | VideoAlex Hagan | 11/13/2012
Temperatures are dropping in North Dakota, but construction continues in booming communities like Dickinson. Mark Penna came from Florida to build housing in oil country, but cold winters take a little getting used to.
"It`s hard being from the south year to year. I`ve learned some things that I wasn`t planning on," he said.
Penna specializes in building affordable housing, a huge need in the Queen City. He is planning on spending the winter constructing three houses in Belfield, Richardton and Dickinson. So far, he has found himself in a little trouble with his excavator.
"The ground freezing up on you is a little more work on the machine and then getting it covered right away," he said.
Kuntz Builders has been around since 1978. Ever since the city had a need for housing, residential has been their specialty. Employees say two thirds of their closings are still going to be happening from now until April. That means prior planning is needed for the winter.
"Making sure that if you`re going to be working on something, it`s covered so the next day it`s not covered in ice. It`s always planning ahead," said manager Kyle Kuntz.
Dickinson has already surpassed the number of building permits issued last year. Construction season does not end in the winter, but contractors say it does take longer to build.
"Trying to minimize what we have to do during the winter. Getting the shell up, something we can do during the winter, but having the concrete done ahead of time," Kuntz said.
Contractors know that the market never takes a break.
"Very important to get the projects done for the investors and the clients so they can get moved in to get out of the housing if their paying high rent," Penna said.
"The buyers don`t go away whether it`s July or if it`s October," Kuntz said.
Which means construction will never take a break in Dickinson.
Kuntz Builders Employees say during the summer, it usually takes around four months to build a house and in the winter it takes about six months. They plan to finish building all 23 of their projects by the time winter is over.