The Standard states that planning for adaptation to climate change and overall building resilience requires using the best available and actionable climate science and climate change information, which should be followed with rational, legally justifiable methods, processes, and policies.
With increasing snow loads due to climate change, roof collapse is becoming a frequent occurrence. Increasing snow loads are a key area of concern not only for designers of new buildings but for owners of existing buildings that are suffering roof failures and other structural problems.
Failures are typically caused by a combination of events, including snow loads that exceed design and building conditions. Critical snow overload risks can result from increased depths, increased densities, snow drifts, rain-soaked snow, and unbalanced snow. Building condition contributing to higher risks includes improper maintenance, inadequate design, construction errors, and improper snow removal.
The most recent climate change science states that changes in temperatures, rainfall, snow accumulations, wind loads, erosion, permafrost thaw, accelerated weathering or deterioration of materials, and other severe weather events will all affect the safety and reliability of buildings and housing in Canada’s North. Specific to changing snow loads for buildings, the many changes in the Northern climate can affect how much snow falls in storms, how much snow accumulates on the ground, the density of the snowfall and snowpack, the amount of rainfall that falls on the snow, and the timing of the winter snow season.