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Re: 25% snow load is Conservative

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A couple of years ago, we designed a house in Mammoth (the Ca. Sierras) for a
300 psf snow load.  (The snow load varied from 250 to 300 depending what
elevation you were building at.)  The load was even doubled for the longer
roof overhangs on the project - anything over 18" I think.  The structure was
wood framed.  Of course, we had a pitched roof and needed very large beams,
and joists with a high shear capacity (microlams in our case).  Lo, and
behold, by the time we were done, it looked like a ski chalet!  Imagine that.

In addition to the structural requirements of the local building department,
there were also a whole set of architectural requirements regarding roof
pitches, etc.  

Last thought -  The City of Mammoth had a nice 8 page handout regarding snow
design which they sent us when we asked.  My lesson was to always call the
local building department for specific requriements when you are not 100%
familiar with the local jurisdiction.  These requirements will govern over the
UBC and can save you a lot of redesign time later.

Bruce Resnick, SE
Parker Resnick Str. Eng.