Prior to the snow season, you should have inspected and equipped your building for the winter months and develop a snow removal plan. If you chose to install a snow roof system that warns you when the snow load is getting close to your snow load capacity, you are prepared to face the season.
Your snow response and removal plan should be reviewed to determine when and how the snow should be removed from your roof. If you only receive a light snow, removal may not be necessary, but if you receive a heavy snow, even if it does not produce a load that meets or exceeds your building’s snow load capacity, you should implement your snow removal plan because future snows, especially if they are close together, will add to the snow load and may quickly surpass your safe load threshold.
If the weather allows your snow to melt and water to pool and then refreeze, removal may be necessary because ice is heavier than snow and additional snowfall will be blocked by the ice near the ends of your roof, causing uneven snow loads.
The snowfall rate and previous accumulation may determine whether removal is necessary. A roofing contractor will remove the snow safely and efficiently, but a contractor should be retained in the fall because they are in high demand during the season, so you may have difficulty getting someone out to your building.
Protect your property and business by ensuring that your contractor has the appropriate workers compensation and liability insurance. Then, insist that the contractor use the safety measures outlined by OSHA for working on roofs. For example, safety harnesses should be worn and foot traffic should be redirected by a person on the ground.
Provide the roofing contractor with your building’s roof plans so they are prepared for any hazards, such as skylights and wiring. The contractor will use a snow rake to slide the snow from the roof, so remove any equipment from the area.
Your roofing contractor should leave approximately 2 inches of snow on the roof, and all the removed snow should be moved to a designated location away from your building. Then, you should inspect the roof system, including your trusses and gutters. Your walls, sprinkler systems and ceilings may also be inspected. Finally, inspect your snow storage area. You want to be sure it can hold additional snow from future storms if necessary.
Protect your building during the winter by evaluating your snow load, immediately implementing your snow removal plan during heavy snows, and inspecting and preparing your building for the next snow event.