North / South America
Too hot for concrete, contractors struggle
Jul, 19 2012
(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- This heat is not only hard on the workers who have to be outside it's also hard on the materials they work with.
You may pass by construction workers on the road and be thankful that you are sitting in your air-conditioned car and not doing what they're doing. Well they wish that too.
"It's been bad," said Keith Ulrich, worker with the city of Des Moines. "Everyone is drinking one and a half gallons a day. We just can't completely keep hydrated."
These men are concrete workers for the City of Des Moines. They mix the concrete, pour it and then level it. As if this work isn't hard enough in the extreme heat, the concrete starts to act up when temperatures rise.
"It is a lot harder to work with because it dries up a lot quicker," Ulrich said. "We have to put a little more water in it because it hardens so much faster and we are limited to how much water that we have to put in so, we have to finish it a lot quicker."
If the concrete sets too fast, it can crack and the job gets compromised.
"You might have to replace it if you don't get done quickly enough," said James Welsh of Dalton Concrete and Construction.
So these guys have to move fast and moving fast when it's 100 degrees out isn't fun.
"The heat has been really hard on the man power more than the concrete," said Ulrich.
There are a few tricks they use to buy some more time. They mix the concrete with water to keep it cooler and they cover the newly laid material with a wax sealer to help keep the moisture in. All of this takes time and more energy from the workers.
One good thing about the concrete setting early is the job gets done faster, so the concrete workers have to move quicker but it gets done in less amount of time.
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