Roof Collapse: Avoid Snow Load Dangers
Property owners and residents should be aware of the weight loads heavy storms may create, especially on flat roofs.
How to Protect Your Roof From Collapse
Schools, churches, office buildings, restaurants, casinos, gas stations commercial buildings and residential buildings – both homes and apartment buildings, as well as carports and awnings can be affected. Owners and residents of flat roof buildings in particular are urged to be aware of the possible snow load danger. Be aware that the threat from heavy snow weight will remain for some time after the storm ends because cold temperatures won’t allow much melting to occur.
Take the following precautions to protect life and property:
- Don’t put untrained individuals on roofs to clear snow. Falls from roofs and possible exposure to electrical wires while on the roof are serious hazards.
- Inspect roofs for leaks or structural deficiencies that may develop during the storm.
- Make certain gutters, drains and downspouts are clear of ice and debris.
- Clear snow and ice away from exhaust vents that go through exterior walls.
- Clear decks of snow to reduce stress on them.
- Watch for falling snow and ice from roofs.
After the storm:
- Clear areas around downspouts so that water from melting snow has a path to flow away from the house or building.
- Remove snow from side walls to prevent high snow mounds from pushing them in.
- Temporarily shore up and brace dipping or sagging roofs or walls.
- Improper operation of doors or windows, deflection of ceiling finishes or exposed beams, roof leaks or sprinkler heads moved from their normal positions could be signs of roof failure.
If you have suffered storm damage to your property, make sure that there is no danger to anyone nearby, and then contact your insurance agent immediately. Wisconsin residents and businesses can contact a knowledge broker at 800-566-7007 for details on how to protect and insure your property and avoid roof collapse during snow storms.
If you have questions about your building’s condition, contact a structural engineer or your local building official for an assessment of the conditions.
This material does not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. It should not be construed as indicating the existence or availability of any insurance coverage. Portions of this information provided by Hanover Insurance.