8th December 2010


 Issue No.  2010/30



  Adverse Weather Advice - Clearing Snow from Canopies.

During the current adverse weather conditions readers may be aware that there have been some incidents of canopies collapsing under the sheer weight of snow lying on them.  We understand that the canopies in question are often of a fibreglass construction and are the type that fix to the wall only and are without vertical supports at the outer edge.

If provided and installed by a reputable manufacturer and supplier, canopies should have been designed and validated to meet British Standards for snow-loads. However, remember that compacted snow is three times heavier than freshly fallen snow and it could be possible for the load bearing capacity of the canopy to be exceeded. As with any structure of this nature, snow should not be allowed to build up and clearing the snow should be part of a planned maintenance programme with due consideration given to a safe method of work.

Given that the cold weather may continue for some time, following a forecasted brief respite this weekend, it may be advisable to carry out a review and if necessary take the following precautions:

  • Cordon off all canopies until the inclement weather passes
  • Check all canopies for signs of collapse
  • Ensure that the canopies have been installed correctly
  • Ensure canopies are inspected by a competent person following the current adverse weather to ensure that there are no signs of damage and are safe
  • Ensure canopies have been designed to take the weight of large volumes of snow as they will increase the potential load on canopies
  • If in any doubt, contact the installer/designer of the canopy to confirm it has been installed correctly and can support the weight of snow, or seek advice from a structural engineer.
We are confident that good manufacturers and installers will want to work with you to avoid potential failures that could result in harm to employees, or others on your site. So do contact them if you have any concerns. 




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