There is really nothing quite like the excitement of breaking ground on a new design-build integrated project. After months of planning, managing, and anticipating, the launch of a new structure signals the culmination of expertise and integration.

But when is the best time to get started? This depends on the geography of the build site. A winter in Arizona is much different than a winter in the Northeast or Upstate New York. The cold and snowy weather can affect a construction site plan.

Is it ideal to break ground in the spring when the weather is warming up? Or are there any reasons to build in colder weather, which is typically the off-season for the construction industry? While you may not want to be on the construction site as the snow flies, there are benefits to beginning the entire process of a design-build project in the winter. We’ll explain why in this blog post.

The winter season, especially in Upstate New York, can seem to extend well past its welcome, but there are distinct advantages to initiating integrated design-build projects during this time of year. While most of the world is dormant, this is the best time to begin planning with a space consultant, securing permits, and approving budgets for a major development project.


Winter is not the most desirable time to be working at a construction site, but it is ideal for interviewing design-build firms to determine which one will be the best at creating your vision and executing to completion. During this off-season, you’ll probably have better luck at securing the design-build firm you like, as they will have more time to communicate with you. When warmer weather hits, the integrated firm’s obligations increase with active projects and your organization may not be able to secure the time you need. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead to get the integrated firm you like in the timeframe you need so your project will proceed as necessary.


Winter can be the perfect time to initiate planning sessions with your design-build team. Architectural, engineering, and construction elements of your building project can be thoughtfully crafted in anticipation of breaking ground when the weather improves. During the winter, you should have enough time to share what design aspects are most important to you in the areas of functionality, cost, quality, energy efficiency, and maintenance. You’re in the off-season, so you and your design-build team will have sufficient time for value engineering, and for BIM and constructability reviews to make adjustments as appropriate.

In many design-build projects in the Northeast or cold regions (including Upstate New York), it is important to plan construction well-ahead of schedule. Ideally, your design-build should erect the structures with enclosures before hazardous weather so site workers are out of cold and snowy conditions. Having teams indoors during the winter months allows the construction team to build out systems and finishes.

Regardless of the season, working with an integrated design-build firm will save time in planning and revisions because you’ll have one point of contact for all architectural and building components of your plan. Working ahead of time with an integrated firm provides open communication and minimizes risk among other benefits. Change orders during construction come with a price tag and if you can avoid them with more thoughtful planning, your budget will be minimally impacted during execution.


starting a design-build project



Having the time to devote to the development of a budget lets your organization obtain quotes and estimates on all aspects of the project. The firm you choose should be able to accommodate your budgeting requests and incorporate all components of your project to lead to a successful build. During the slower winter season, you and your design-build associates will have more time to dedicate to your project and make sure that your building plans are thorough and that your budget has been adhered to properly.

Transparency during the budgeting phase should be a goal for you and your selected integrated design-build firm. Any reputable design-build firm wants to build a relationship with you and will provide honest, detailed estimates for your review. Be leery of those who do not.


Building permits are necessary for construction projects of all sizes. If the correct permit is not secured, all momentum on a project can be brought to a screeching halt, throwing the balance of the work schedule into chaos. When the permit process is initiated in winter, you’ll have time to complete the required applications, learn about building codes and interact appropriately with your design-build team. With winter being the off-season in the construction industry, approval offices won’t have as many requests as they do in warmer weather and will be able to process your documents more expeditiously.


Building projects are dynamic. There are inevitable ups and downs on the way to completion. However, beginning in the winter will give you substantial time to plan, hold discussions with your integrated design-build team, select materials, and close up details well in advance of construction. Plus, you’ll be able to make measured decisions without the pressure of knowing that construction crews are waiting in the wing. When the stakes are high in large construction projects, you owe it to your development project to allow sufficient time for each step. Winter is a great time to do just that.

VIP Structures is an integrated design-build firm located in Upstate New York. Our architecture, engineering, construction, and development teams work hand-in-hand to develop a project from vision through completion. For more information on VIP Structures, contact us below or continue to browse our blog.