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RE: retaining snow loads

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Title: RE: retaining snow loads

Snow that simply falls or drifts against a wall will place very little load on the wall.  It is very low density when it falls/drifts and then basically consolidates straight down without a lateral component.  Snow or ice sliding off a roof is another thing.

The National Building Code of Canada notes that "snow and ice falling from a roof of a building may be deflected against the building, causing damage," but is silent on the magnitude of the loads.   I have seen a case where ice falling off of a roof deflected off the snow pile below the eave and crashed through a window right onto my desk.

As far as guidelines go, if you have a big gable roof that will shed a lot of snow and the snow won't be cleared away regularly below the eave, then metal siding or windows in the wall can be a problem.  Personally, I like to see at least 12 courses (8 feet) of masonry at the bottom of such walls.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Smith [mailto:smthengr(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 1999 11:41
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: retaining snow loads

Can anyone tell me how to apply lateral loads due to snow. For example, if
you have 10 feet of snow against walls and or windows, what forces (if any?)
should the wall framing and for that matter window glazing be designed for?
I have never actually seen snow build up against glass since the temperature
difference usually keeps the snow off the glass.


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