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Building Snow drift

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You will have a windward and leeward drift effect at some distance away
from the building.  All buildings in permafrost regions require either
elevation or active/passive refrigeration to prevent melting of the
permafrost.  A rule of thumb we use is 4' clear space below the building
is usually sufficient to keep the area below the building blown clear.
However, use caution with any obstructions in this area below the
building because it does not take a lot of "pinching" to create a
situation where the drift will occur below the structure.  In our
situation, it is critical to prevent the building from heating the
permafrost which will cause adfreeze pile failure.  

In your case, I'm not sure what you are looking for.  Basically, a
raised building will act similar to a snow fence and cause snow to
settle out as the wind speed slows on the leeward side.  If you need to
calculate the leeward drift, there are references available to
approximate the size and configuration of the drifting.

Try "Cold Region Structural Engineering" (McGraw-Hill)
Or  "Snow Fence Guide" by Strategic Highway Research Program.

These references may be available on the University of Alaska Anchorage
web page - check the web based Arctic Engineering course.

Jared Keyser, P.E.
Anchorage, AK

From: "Wontae Kim" <Wontae.Kim(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Snow Drift Load

About Snow Drift Load:
If a building has pilotis on the ground level, which means this building
is separated from the ground using columns, how should I consider snow
drift load on the ground level? Is there triangular shape surcharge snow
drift? If there is, what shape of triangle? (How wide its bottom W is?)
In my opinion, there is no snow drift for the turbulent wind effect? May
I hear your opinions?

("Piloti" is a French term for a series of columns which support a
building above an open ground level. Villa Savoye, constructed in 1928
by Le Corbusier, is a classic example of their use)

****Wontae Kim****

Jared F. Keyser, P.E.

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