A Winter Postcard From The Ouellet Construction Team
Winter is just a distant memory, but it’s one Ouellet Construction won’t soon forget.
Back-to-back snowstorms in December and arctic cold made putting a roof on Southern Maine Healthcare’s new Edward J. McGeachey Medical Office Building a cold weather challenge. The Ouellet Construction team used snow blowers, leaf blowers, shovels, scoops, sticks and frozen fingers to clear an area larger than a hockey rink—more than once—all while slipping and sliding on metal decking.
“The Ouellet Construction team really showed what they were made of and I’m proud of them. Putting a roof on under these conditions is daunting, to say the least. You have to move each scoop of snow multiple times to get it over the edge. Prior to construction, we moved 10,000 cubic-yards of granite. That was a piece of cake in comparison.” – Mike Ouellet
When the first big storm hit, the roof at Southern Maine Healthcare was only in the metal decking phase. It didn’t have the strength to support anything heavier than a snow blower, which lacked the power to blow snow from the center all the way off the edge. That was accomplished one shovelful at a time. When the snow finally got within flinging distance, the flinger (not an official construction industry term) had to put on a safety harness with a retractable lifeline.
“It’s a challenge trying to get traction in the snow as your feet are sliding out from under you and the tension of the harness is pulling you backward, and then, before you’re even done, it starts snowing again.” -Mike Ouellet
The team used a leaf blower to get at the snow between the metal flutes in the area that they were prepping to pour concrete that would support the HVAC equipment. “These guys were literally using their fingers to pry wet snow out from between the flutes of the metal decking,” says Ouellet. “I want to use this space to acknowledge their dedication under extreme conditions and say thank you. It proves that with determination we can move mountains—even if they’re made of snow