Heavy snow loads in Truckee Tahoe: Dig that roof! | SierraSun.com
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Heavy snow loads in Truckee Tahoe: Dig that roof!

Michael Lavallee
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; As one travels around Truckee, building roofs and decks heavily loaded with snow are readily observed. In most cases, there is no need for concern because buildings are engineered and designed to withstand these heavy loads.

The Town of Truckee requires that all buildings and structures are designed by a California registered civil or structural engineer or licensed architect to resist anticipated loads including snow loads. Before incorporation, Nevada County commissioned with Civil Engineer John Webster Brown to perform a snow load study. That study was published in June 1973 and has been the basis of determining snow loads throughout the Town and Nevada County. Buildings that predate this standard and are still standing have stood the test of time.

Snow design in Truckee is based on ground snow load. Snow loads are tabulated on the Town website at http://www.townoftruckee.com/index.aspx?page=100 listed by subdivision. For an estimate of an acceptable level of snow on oneand#8217;s roof, use 70 percent of the tabulated ground snow load divided by 25 (pounds per cubic foot, the weight of snow in Truckee). This yields the approximate roof design snow depth. If the snow on your roof exceeds this depth one could contact a snow removal company to have snow removed or contact an engineer for an exact analysis.

Other things to watch for include walls that are out of plumb or beams or rafters that are excessively deflecting. Walls and columns should generally be plumb (vertical). If they are over 1 inch out of plumb in 8 feet, contact a civil or structural engineer for an evaluation. Beams and joists should deflect no more than one inch in 180 inches (15 feet). If a beam or joist is deflected (sagging) beyond this level or signs of cracking or distress are noted, please contact a California registered civil or structural engineer.

and#8212; Town of Truckee Chief Building Official Michael Lavallee can be reached at 530-582-2905


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