Winter Storm and Your Structures

Winter Storm & Your Structures

Many areas have been hit with freezing rain today and even though it has generally not been enough to warrant concern for the structures, it is a good time to recap some common things when dealing with ice on buildings.

It is important to note that the ice in itself is not an issue, even a very thick layer actually has enough strength to become self supporting. There are two potential problems though:

  • If the ice stays on the building, it usually has a rough enough texture that subsequent snow will not likely slide off. This scenario lead to major problems in previous winters when we had freezing rain, followed by a dump of snow and then we had rain. This can triple the weight on a building in very short order.
  • The other potential problem happens when you are attempting to remove the ice from the building. If the ice layer is not too significant you can gently bump the cover from the inside. ALWAYS start bumping the cover from the top. This way ice will slide over ice. Starting from the bottom creates a potential where the ice sliding down will fall back against the building and slash the cover. NEVER do all of one side and then the other. Work both sides simultaneously.

If there is the slightest doubt in your mind about the amount of weight on the building, bump the cover from the outside using something with a long handle.

If in doubt please don’t hesitate to ask.

Structures on Blocks or Shipping Containers

Storage containers and over sized concrete blocks are the economical solution for needing to elevate structures to create more storage capacity.

One consideration is when the product being stored does not lend itself to stacking, such as salt, sand or soil, there is the added dimension of outward push on the wall. Not only does the pile push outwardly, but an operator scooping the product will create even greater push.

Storage containers and over sized concrete blocks are the economical solution for such a situation. The weight and the stability which both the containers and blocks give, eliminates the need to anchor into the ground.

Containers are often simply put on the ground.

When going more then two layers with the blocks, there should be a concrete pad or special preparation of the soil to provide stability.

When choosing this foundation method, it is important to consider how and where the shelter will shed water and snow.

The top of the wall or container must be sealed to the possibility of moisture going inside.

The other thing that must be given proper consideration is that the shelter is able to deal with the extra wind load created by elevating the shelter this much.

In most of these installations, the wind load on a building is at least double of what it would be if mounted on the ground.

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