Working outside in cold weather can not only cause health hazards, it can also slow productivity. An effective way of keeping workers warm is to enclose the area where they are working, or even the entire construction site, if practical, with a temporary enclosure. Heating the enclosed area with space heaters provides even more warmth. A variety of enclosure systems are available to accommodate many types of construction projects. Four of these are described in this article:

  • A variety of heavy-duty, water-resistant sheeting materials can be stapled, nailed, tied, or clipped to wood frames or scaffolding. Common sheeting materials include polyethylene, nylon, vinyl, and canvas.
  • Prefabricated, modular panel systems require few tools for assembly and no auxiliary framing. They are quickly erected and disassembled. The standard system consists of steel-framed, reusable panels that quickly snap together with specifically designed locking keys.
  • One builder used a 60x140-foot, vinyl-coated nylon tent with a maximum inside height of 16 feet to enclose already installed foundations for two buildings, moving the tent from one foundation to the next as slabs were poured.
  • A tensioned-fabric enclosure has an arched freestanding steel or aluminum frame over which is stretched heavy-duty, PVC-coated polyester fabric. Sturdier than tents, these enclosures can withstand heavy snow loads and 120- to 140- mph winds.