In Business, Business Insurance, High Net Worth Insurance, Home Insurance, Must Read, Personal Insurance by Augusto Russell

The unprecedented snow load on roofs in the Northeast in recent past has led to some building damage and collapse. According to reports from several localities, schools, churches, commercial and residential buildings, carports and awnings have been affected. As the next series of winter storms moves into the region, property owners and residents should be aware of the weight loads these storms may be creating, especially on flat roofs.

Take the following precautions to protect life and property:
•Watch for falling snow and ice from roofs.
•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.

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.

Owners and residents of flat roof buildings in particular are urged to be aware of the possible snow load danger. The threat from heavy snow weight will remain for some time after the storm ends if cold temperatures remain and prevent melting to occur. If you have questions about your building’s condition, contact a structural engineer or your local building official for an assessment of the conditions

(Source: The Hanover Insurance Loss Control Department)