Scheduling preventive maintenance is an integral part of any building administrator’s job, regardless of the structure type. However, traditional buildings, usually made of concrete or timber, require relatively more maintenance activities than metal buildings. Maintenance activities for metal buildings are typically done only twice a year. And one of the most convenient times to schedule this activity is after the winter.
Actually, this first tip is useful not only after the winter, but also during the season. Snow tends to concentrate on a basic and indispensable part of metal buildings, or any building for that matter – the roof.
Now, this is something that you should take seriously. Snow and ice accumulation is actually a known hazard for most structures, even metal buildings. When snow and ice deposits cause overloading, there is a strong tendency for the roof to collapse. This of course entails not only damage to property but also injuries and worse, deaths.
Vigilance is key. You have to be aware of your environment. So before snow gets the better of your roof, you might as well call in experts to remove the excess load on your structure. Now, you’d think you can do it all on your own. But the thing is, it’s rather difficult to accurately assess or estimate the maximum amount of snow accumulation. How would you know if a heap of snow on your roof is already going to cause you problems? The only way to get around this problem is to know how much snow load was incorporated into the design. Metal buildings have different values for this parameter, depending on how each was designed. For this purpose you will need the erection drawings, sometimes also the Letter of Certification for the building, and the person to interpret it for you.
Most people think that this process of estimation can simply be done by determining a certain height and using this as somewhat a point of referrence – once the accumulation reaches this height, then that’s the time you remove the snow. However, this is one huge and prominent misconception. Studies have proven that there is no real correlation between depth and density of snow. This is primarily because there is a big difference in the range of densities of fresh snow and frozen snow. This is also another good reason why it is best to be in the company of professionals.
(to be continued)