Following on from the winter of 2009/10 with its extreme temperatures and heavy snowfall, the early onset of winter in 2010 is bringing its own havoc with widespread snowfall, freezing fog and record breaking low temperatures.
Snow, Ice and Steel Buildings
Snow and ice can become a real problem for steel buildings as the roofs of buildings have to suddenly cope with enormous extra strain caused by the additional weight. During the winter of 2009/10 it is reported that over 1,000 farm buildings collapsed in Scotland under the weight of snow and in January 2010 the roofs of 21 football pitch sized warehouses belonging to a major whisky company collapsed. Although, thankfully there was no damage to life and limb, the whisky company had to halt business until the weather improved.
Already this winter there have been reported failures – including the roof of a steel building used by a world leading pharmaceutical company that collapsed under the weight of snow just last week!
How to Avoid Steel Building Failure
Steel buildings in the UK must be designed to the Eurocode EN1993-1-3:2006 (or EC3) which has superseded BS 6399.
Reputable companies, such as Miracle Span, are careful to supply steel buildings manufactured using steel produced to the appropriate British and European Standards. Framed buildings must include quality framework that is expertly designed and erected. Loading also plays a crucial part in steel building design. There are two types of load to be taken into account: the dead load which is based on the weight of the materials used; and the imposed load which takes account of the location of the building, the height above sea level, the load imposed by snow and the effects of drifting, etc.
Finally, don’t be tempted to cut corners to get a cheap price as steel building failure could cost you dearly in the long term and could even result in the loss of lives.