Ecclesiastical Insurance, through Steers Insurance, provided the following information regarding snow load. Please share among your communities of faith.

“Please find attached our “Prepare for Winter” bulletin which has some helpful hints and recommendations around preventing a roof failure due to snow load on pages 3 & 4 of the bulletin. Ice damming is another potential problem area associated with snow load on roof systems. There are some recommendation around that as well in the bulletin.

We thought it would be helpful to pass this along to the United Churches in Newfoundland and Labrador in hopes that it may prevent a catastrophic loss from a roof failure. It is recommended that volunteers or members of the church not attempt to access the roof to remove snow and that an insured contractor is hired to do any snow removal from a roof area.

Roof failure
Heavy snow loads, drifting snow, ice, severe winds and repeated temperature extremes (partial thawing and re-freezing) can wreak havoc on a roof and put both people and property at risk. While it is critical to maintain a roof throughout the year, the risks created by extreme winter conditions cannot be underestimated. If the roof doesn’t drain properly, snow, ice and water remain trapped, adding weight loads that can cause the roof to collapse. Flat roofs are at increased risk because of their wide spans and low-slopes.

To ‘winterize’ and protect your roof:

• Perform an inspection of all roof structural members before winter begins. Any parts that are sagging, cracked or otherwise compromised should be repaired immediately to prevent roof failure. The “Roof Maintenance Checklist” is available on the Ecclesiastical web site.
• If shingles are missing, have them replaced immediately to avoid interior damage.
• When the roof is dry, inspect the roof cover for evidence of long term standing water. This will be evident by the presence of mold, mildew, and even small vegetation growing.
• Consider having heating cables installed and connected to the drainage system, creating a path for melting ice.
• Check the roof regularly for excessive snow load, especially after heavy snowfalls.
• Hire a bonded and insured contractor to conduct snow removal in a safe and controlled manner, with care taken to ensure that the areas below are free of passers-by and vehicles.”

If you have any questions or concerns, contact:

Steven Venturini, CIP
Regional Underwriting Manager, Eastern Region, Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc
1-902-492-4548 X5018
201-100 Eileen Stubbs Ave, Dartmouth, NS B3B 1Y6

Prepare For Winter