UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

March 10, 2014
Mary Christiansen | Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering | 218-726-7810 |
Rania Al-Hammoud | Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering | 218-726-6444 |
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director, External Affairs | 218-726-8996 |

Northland Roof Failure: UMD Structural Engineering Faculty Discuss "Snow Loads"


On Monday, March 10 at 11:30 am in the High Bay Lab of the Swenson Civil Engineering Building, Mary Christiansen and Rania Al-Hammoud, faculty in UMD's Civil Engineering Department, will discuss with the media the recent incidences of roof failure due to snow loads.

"Snow, especially wet snow, is actually much heavier than many people realize," said Mary Christiansen, assistant professor in the Civil Engineering Department. "Deep snow on a roof can add significant loads to a structure and wind can exacerbate this by forming drifts or other unbalanced loading scenarios. Structural engineers account for snow loading in their design, but sometimes extreme snow events, like the sustained snow we are experiencing in Duluth this winter, can be problematic."

The two faculty members will be available to answer questions on the following topics: building codes, how to measure the weight of snow, proper ventilation and insulation, code changes resulting from required higher R-values in building insulation, the impact of drifting snow, ice dams, pre-fabricated building design, and other topics.

The Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth has a mission to prepare graduates for professional practice and graduate study through a program firmly based in strong technical skills, fundamentals, hands-on learning, sustainability, and professionalism.

The University of Minnesota Duluth integrates liberal education, research, creative activity, and public engagement and prepares students to thrive as lifelong learners and globally engaged citizens. UMD offers 153 undergraduate majors and minors and more than 23 graduate degree programs. During the 2013-14 school year, 11,241 students enrolled. Find UMD online:

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