Drought delivers 'bumper' season for some Ottawa businesses

While dry weather over the spring and early summer has been a bane for some Ottawa businesses, it's been a boon for others, including roofers, landscapers and other contractors.

Roofers, landscapers, construction companies benefit from lower-than-normal rainfall

Dry weather over the spring and summer has allowed Stewart Roofing crews to get jobs done more efficiently. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC)

While dry weather over the spring and early summer has been a bane for some Ottawa businesses, it's a boon for others, including roofers, landscapers and other contractors.

"It is absolutely perfect roofing weather. You couldn't ask for a better season than this," said Stan Stewart, owner of Stewart Roofing Ltd. "We've had a bumper May, a bumper June, and July seems to have no indication that it's going to change at all."

Rainfall totals for April, May and June in Ottawa were below normal. Only 112.4 millimetres of rain fell on the capital during those three months, roughly half of the 221.2 millimetre total for the same period in 2015, according to Environment Canada data.

Stan Stewart, owner of Stewart Roofing, says the dry weather has resulted in a 'bumper' season. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC)
Less rain means Stewart's crews of about 40 employees across the city are able to get jobs done sooner and move on to the next ones.

"We're not being shut down for rain days. It allows us to proceed in a quicker fashion on the roofs," he said. "And it's just great to be outside working when the weather's like this. It's not overcast. Everybody's in a great mood."

'Excellent' for landscaping

Landscaper Frank Van Herpen calls these working conditions "excellent."

"No rain — or hardly any rain — and it's been perfect for us. More work for us," he said at a job site on James Street in Centretown.

"We can keep going. We don't have to get out, or we don't have to take days off, so we just keep going with what we're doing."

He estimates his crew has only lost about two working days to rain since the spring. "At the moment, it's been very nice," he added.

Staying hydrated

But Stewart admitted the dry weather can be a bit of a mixed blessing when temperatures gets too hot.

"Dehydration is your greatest enemy that the worker out here can have," he said. He ensures his crews have a steady supply of water and oranges on site to stay hydrated.

"It's a balance of hydration and electrolyte intake," Stewart added. "And if you get that combination right — and the easiest way to get it right is if you take a couple oranges over a period of a day, that'll replenish your electrolytes and keep that balance proper."

Rainfall totals have been below normal this construction season in Ottawa. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC)