Terri-Jane Yuzda


Arched Roofs May Collapse
Under Unbalanced Snow Loads

Unbalanced snow loads may pose problems for certain types of arched roofs and could even cause a collapse, the Alberta government announced in a recent news release. Arched roofs are typically found on industrial buildings, curling rinks and arenas.

Safety Services of the Municipal Affairs Department advises owners of arched roof buildings that the structures may not be able to support unbalanced snow loads, and that a collapse could occur, brought on by drifting on the roof caused by heavy snowfall and high winds. Owners should have their roofs inspected immediately by professional engineers, so APEGGA members should be aware that they could be called upon for this work. Until inspections have been conducted, owners should avoid using the buildings when the weather conditions could cause problems or when there is heavy snow on the roofs.

Municipal Affairs is making amendments to the Alberta Building Code, which will correct the design shortcomings in new buildings. The amendments will likely be adopted this spring. Safety Services was alerted about the possible problem by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes.

Affected roofs have a height/width ration lower than 1/10 but higher than 1/20. For additional technical information, visit the website www.gov.ab.ca/ma/ss.

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