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Due to increased number of journalists’ requests in respect to whether the snow, collected on a building’s roof, could cause collapse of a building, the GCE Group Press-Service has prepared an official response

“The environmental factors, including the precipitation, cause only 6-10% of buildings’ load bearing structures failures” – comments Yevgeniy Kochetkov, GCE-Nord Technical Director. The construction codes prescribe mandatory individual analysis of snow load for every building and facility, taking in consideration regional geographic characteristics. Additionally, this analysis is performed considering strength margin for the event of extensive precipitation in excess of average snow load which, in St. Petersburg, is 180 kg per m2”. 

For the most part, collapses happen due to violations in construction procedures, improper facility’ operation, low quality of construction materials, or due to design flaws. 

“A detailed investigation of each incident shows that snow only compounds the already existing problems” – says Anastasiya Savelyeva, GCE Group PR Director. “Let’s try to remember the incident with “MEGA Dybenko” (St. Petersburg) shopping center, where the roof collapsed last winter allegedly due to snow, but as it was later discovered, the cause was a low quality of welding seams in one of the load bearing trusses.  In 2009, in Blagoveschensk, the Spartak sporting complex roof collapsed due, primarily, to dilapidation of ceiling beams. The snow load only led to a logical conclusion”. 

For the second year in a row an above average snow uncovers yet another problem of the modern construction – shortcomings in the structural characteristics of modern buildings - note GCE-Nord experts. Normally, the snow is not a problem for the brick and stone made buildings. In a worst case scenario, a crack will develop. But the modern metal structure buildings have different physical properties – loads are distributed in a completely different way. Metal is deformed, bended and crushed, and this could lead to more serious consequences including collapse of the entire facility. 

Background information: GCE-Nord is a leader in the area of technical diagnostics at Russia’s hazardous industrial facilities. It is part of GCE Group. The company’s main area of activity is industrial safety inspections of buildings, facilities and technical devices (technical diagnostics) for industrial enterprises. Among its clients are Gazprom, LUKOIL, Transneft, OGK-2, TNK-BP, INTER RAO EES, and other industrial leaders.


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