Essential structural considerations in roof design

Essential structural considerations in roof design

Photograph courtesy KTA Structural Engineers Ltd./Teeple Architects Ltd./Kaisian Architecture

By David Thompson, P.Eng.

Design industry experts generally perform in isolation, with just about every willpower (architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical) carrying out their very own detail and only having jointly just after they have concluded most of their individual design and style contribution to co-ordinate dimensions. This strategy commonly boundaries the amount of money of in depth facts exchanged involving the structure team until finally the closing phases of the undertaking. Important information is unintentionally missed, and this can drastically impact the structural design and style of roof devices. Anticipating what the structural engineer requires to contemplate to make design choices and how the other disciplines impact these conclusions (quite a few periods without acknowledging it) will be dealt with in this report, as well as:

  • How rain, snow, and wind masses are taken care of in Canada and the U.S.
  • Historic context that influences how the various loads are approximated
  • Impression of choices produced by the project staff which have an impact on structural engineering results
  • Influences of product or service limits and load capacities from manufacturer’s technical info
  • Facts that have to be integrated in agreement structural specifications to handle influences from roofing


Roofs protect against climate from affecting the lives of people inside a creating. Excessive weather conditions activities arise possibly when a significant-scale technique (chilly or warm entrance), shorter-lived storms, or snow squalls go as a result of an region. Shorter-lived storms can produce into thunderstorms, hailstorms, or tornadoes. Thunderstorms can induce severe wind functions, hailstorms, and/or tornadoes (Determine 1).

Environment Canada’s internet site has several intriguing information on these temperature situations:

  • Both of those Ontario and the Prairie Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) each individual working experience an regular of 20 brief-expression severe rain occasions (i.e. thunderstorms) just about every yr.
  • In the Prairie Provinces, there are 40 to 50 serious wind activities, with wind gusts greater than 90 km/hr (56 mph), on normal due to thunderstorms. In Ontario, intense wind activities occur on regular concerning 40 and 70 situations.
  • In Ontario and Quebec, 17 tornadoes happen each and every 12 months on ordinary. Across the Prairies, there is an average of 43 tornadoes each and every calendar year.
  • Hail is a important difficulty in the Prairies—causing additional problems than all other temperature occasions put together.
  • Ontario has about 25 for each cent of the yearly hail situations in Canada.

Natural environment Canada has provided design and style values in Desk C-2 of Volume I, Division B, Appendix C, of the Nationwide Making Code of Canada (NBC). Appendix C presents a fantastic explanation of the background for the structure values. The appendix notes, for places not detailed in Table C-2, designers really should make contact with Ecosystem Canada. A single merchandise that needs to be clarified is the time period “1/50 calendar year,” that means there is a probability of two for each cent of the value transpiring for the duration of the yr. It is feasible for the price to be exceeded one or extra situations in a calendar year.

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