As winter prepares to bear down have you prepared your business or institution for the potentially destructive effects of heavy snow on the roof? Whether you manage a school or own a warehouse, you should be aware that the weight of wet snow can cause a roof to buckle. By taking action before the temperatures approach zero you can avoid this dangerous and costly disaster.
Know Your Roof
Just as transportation bodies calculate bridge weight restrictions based on construction principals, you need to determine your roof’s load-carrying capacity with the help of structural engineers. Even if you already have the original calculations, take into account any subsequent alterations or roof additions that could change the calculation. For example, newly-installed heating and air conditioning equipment may have added significant weight to the structure.
Install Monitoring Equipment
Despite your efforts to educate yourself about your roof, snow can fall that will exceed its structural parameters. Monitoring equipment can help you keep an eye on unfolding conditions. The use of a roof load calculator will help you gauge how close the snowpack is to reaching its critical weight. Ideally, the calculator scale will integrate with an alarm that notifies you by computer or phone, at which time you can take action to remove the snow.
Inspect Twice Yearly
In the spring and fall, examine your roof in detail when it is dry. What you look for depends on the construction material and roof type. Note the following for repair: splitting or bowing wood, rusting metal, corroding fasteners, curling shingles or wearing flashing. If a gutter is installed, inspect that as well, and clean out accumulated debris.
Commercial roofs should be constructed to withstand nature’s elements. Unexpected blizzards can test even an overbuilt one, however. By actively monitoring your roof during snowfalls and maintaining it annually, you can rest easy knowing your employees and customers have a safe roof over their heads.