H & S Niche Topic: Marquee Snow Load

  Posted by: Chief Editor, Selmore - Marquee Hire, on July 21, 2017 7:21 pm Leave your thoughts
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Marquee Snow Load

Like many other safety facts, marquee snow load is one worth having to hand when in the hire business

Temporary demountable structures, or marquee tents in 'easy speak' are of course assembled with short-term purpose in mind from 'demountable', or rather detachable components. By nature a marquee of any sort has less resilience to physical pressure (whether internally or externally), when compared with a brick and mortar event venue.

From a health and safety perspective, there are a whole raft of detailed risk considerations which must be deliberated upon before installing a marquee for a temporary event, no matter how sparse the number of guests are expected to be.

One such risk issue when erecting event marquees, especially in UK winter or in global locations with extreme cold, such as Russia, for example, is marquee snow load on the roof.

What is snow load?

Essentially, snow load is physical load or weight exerted by fallen snow upon a building, adding to its burden by way of structural stress.

Each building is different in many cases, but the principles by which the additional weight of snow may affect them remain consistent.

What are the dangers of snow load to marquees?

The primary risk with snow load, especially to a temporary demountable structure, like a marquee tent, is structural failure.

Where either the connective components/joints, or the integrity of the building materials themselves, are placed under more physical force than they are able to withstand.

It only takes the smallest of parts of a marquee to fail for the integrity of the entire structure to be critically compromised, causing partial or total collapse.

Where this happens, any people inside or out (within reach) of the marquee could be at significant risk of injury, or worse, death.

The following is an overview of the risk management considerations for the safety issue of snow load on a roof, as published by the US Governmental Department - FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency):

  1. Types of Snow (frozen precipitation)
  2. Physics and Snow
  3. Types of Structures
  4. Framing Material
  5. Canopy Material
  6. Monitoring Snow Load
  7. Preventative Measures for Structural Failure
  8. Snow Removal

What must be done to manage snow load risk on marquee roofs?

As with every aspect of health and safety when hiring marquees, a written risk management plan is a prudent approach to covering all appropriate bases with preventative measures & solutions, whilst knowing exactly, who is responsible & that all relevant parties are notified, what kind of indicators of risk to look for and when to look.

Consulting with a qualified health and safety professional is always a good step to begin with (Selmore is not a health and safety specialist - and as such, articles like this are merely academically researched, investigative pieces written by lay persons...consider posts like these a pointer in the right direction to having a meaningful conversation with an informed specialist if your starting knowledge is scratch). This article does not constitute professional advice.

This post marks the beginning of a planned series of posts providing detailed drill down on the above listed points advocated by the corresponding "Snow Load Safety Guide" FEMA document.

For further pointers on similar risk management issues with marquees, take a look at our overhead risk management posts.

Are there any useful templates to download for helping us stay on top of risk management?

Selmore has produced a suite of custom developed, risk management templates made using Microsoft Excel. They are made with event professionals in mind who might want to learn a competent method of documenting their risk management, as well as communicating this effort to other stakeholders.

If you would like to make us of such templates, subscribe to receive further information.

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