With the recent heavy snows and forecast of rain to follow here in upstate NY, it is crucial that building owners and property managers conduct post storm roof inspections as part of their procedures. Rain falling on accumulated snow is especially dangerous because snow-covered roofs do not drain well and accumulating water and ice can quickly exceed the design limits of the roof.
Post storm roof inspections can be helpful in reducing water damage and preventing collapses when conducted after severe weather, heavy rain or snow, and high winds. The scope and need for roof inspections is dependent on roof type, roof pitch, and presence of roof-mounted equipment.
Here are some inspection tips from Liberty Mutual Insurance:
1. Regularly monitor snow depth on the roof, paying close attention to areas where snow tends to drift.
2. Remove snow during a storm only if the forecast indicates that the total snowfall will result in dangerous accumulations.
3. Remove snow in layers uniformly across the roof to prevent unbalanced loads that might create a collapse.
4. Clear snow and ice from storm drains and catch basins.
5. Use care with snow removal equipment to prevent roof cover damage. Is is not necessary to clear completely down to the roof surface as long as melting snow can flow freely to the drains. Be sure to check with your roofing contractor before using mechanized equipment on the roof to ensure it will not damage the roof membrane.
6. Determine what special tools, equipment, protective devices, clothing and footwear will be needed to work on a snow-covered roof.
Don’t get caught off guard. Update your emergency response program to include monitoring forecasts and intiating winter emergency procedures when appropriate. For more Winter Storm tips, contact Aisha Hartford at 800-462-6435.