Winter Heating during Construction

Reminder: Foundations Under Construction Must be Heated this Winter

Contractors building during the winter months are reminded they must provide a continuous source of heat to the foundation of all homes under construction to prevent damage to the soils beneath the foundation and the concrete.

Watch: Winter Construction

The Alberta Building Code (ABC) states, “The bottom of excavations shall be kept from freezing throughout the entire construction period,” as failing to do so will almost always result in frost heave, which causes significant damage to the foundation.

Building Safety Codes Officers who are out completing framing inspections will be ensuring the soils underneath all foundations are being heated. If the proper measures are not being taken, all work will be stopped.

In order to resume construction, contractors will have to apply heat to the soils underneath the foundation to thaw out the sub-surface. Geo-technical, and possibly structural, engineering testing by a third party will be required to verify the soils and the foundation meet all standards. Any required repairs will have to be completed by your contractor.

Code Compliance

Currently, Building Safety Codes Officers have reported that the majority of contractors are taking the appropriate precautions while installing foundations in less than ideal freezing conditions. However, some contractors do not understand the requirements for continued heating of the foundation for the duration of freezing temperatures.

Failing to meet the minimum requirements according to the ABC for pouring and caring for a foundation will result in foundation failures, additional expenses, and project delays.

Should Building Safety Codes Officers have concerns the minimum requirements were not met at a construction site, professional involvement will be required to test and verify the concrete strength to prove it meets the ABC standards.

More Information

For questions, call the Safety Codes Branch at 780-743-7813 or email

Winter Maintenance Subzones 1 & 2 are active Jan. 20 - 24.