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Snow retention system building codes? This article discusses standards & codes for snow retention system and answers "no" to the simple question of is there a snow retention system buiding code.
This article series illustrates types of snow guards or snow brakes or other snow retention devices used on metal, rubber, asphalt, and slate roofs and we explain and illustrate in photographs just how and where these devices are attached to building roofs. We give the reasons for snow & ice retainer use and their history.
A snow and ice retention system that mounts to a standing seam metal roof by connecting to the roof covering has to resist the forces of snow and ice pressure by transmitting those forces from the snow fence or snow guard to the roof surface and through that roof to the roof mounting clips.
There are building codes for building roof system wind-uplift resistance on metal roofs but there are not building codes that describe the "shear strength" resistance for the fasteners used to secure metal roof panels to the roof deck.
Failures in the mounting system for snow retention devices can occur if the snow retention system is not adequately secured to the building structure itself. Damage to the roof or roof covering can also occur if the total snow and ice load bends or breaks the roof covering (such as a standing seam metal roof).
If the total load causes the roof mounting clips beneath the metal roof to shear. In our OPINION given the total number of clips used to secure the length of a standing seam metal roof panel to the roof deck below, the chances of shearing of all of these roof mounting clip screws, properly screwed to a sound plywood or even OSB roof deck should be minimal.
However it is plausible that high snow and ice loading near the roof edge, imposed against snow guards or a snow fence in that location, could provide a bending force that pulls fasteners out of the roof deck, bending or damaging the roof, and sending snow guards and snow and ice to the ground below.
Adhesive failures are reported by Galow, Anderson, and others as a common snow retention system failure for glued-on snow guards on metal roofs, as we discussed above. 
Structural damage can occur if the snow retention system is not properly located on the roof. See SNOW GUARD SPACING & PATTERN for an explanation of ice dam loading on roof extensions.
The load on snow guards as well as the relationship of snow loading on roofs and the use of snow guard was investigated by Tobiasson (1996) et als. who concluded that improved design guidelines, standards and performance criteria are needed for snow guards on metal roofs.
There are however recommendations for snow retention system installation from the manufacturers of these systems. See SNOW GUARDS on METAL ROOFS for examples.
References for Snow Guards, Installation Methods, Standards
Berger Snow Retention Systems, Berger Building Products, 805 Pennsylvania Blvd.
Feasterville, PA 19053
Email: email@example.com, Website: http://bergerbp.com
Berger provides snow rail systems for slate and tile roofs in a variety of configurations as well as glue-on plastic snow guards.
"Berger Snow Guard Guidelines", op.cit. retrieed 5/2/2014, original source: http://www.bergerbp.com/pdf/SnowGuardGuidelines.pdf
Buska, James, and Wayne Tobiasson. "Minimizing the adverse effects of snow and ice on roofs." In International Conference on Building Envelope Systems and Technologies (ICBEST-2001) Ottawa, Canada. 2001.
Buska, J. A. M. E. S., W. A. Y. N. E. Tobiasson, W. Fyall, and A. Greatorex. "Electric Heating Systems for Combating Icing Problems on Metal Roofs." In Proceedings, Fourth International Symposium on Roofing Technology, pp. 153-162. 1997.
Eriksson, Antonina, U. Björnstig, and K. Kullenberg. "Beware of snowy roofs!." American journal of public health 78, no. 3 (1988): 322-322.
Guards, A. Stop-Type Snow. "Attach snow guards to metal roof panels with adhesive, sealant, or adhesive tape, as recommended by manufacturer." Do not use fasteners that will penetrate metal roof panels 1.
Guards, E. Snow. "Prefabricated, noncorrosive units designed to use with sheet metal roofing and complete with predrilled holes or hooks for anchoring. 1." Manufactured by Metal Roof Inovations 2.
Heim, David. "Roofing With Slate." Fine Homebuilding 20 (1984): 3843.
Hovis, K. "Snow guards an important accessory for metal roofs." Metal Construction News 23, no. 9 (2002): 86-88.
Mackinlay, I., R. Flood, and A. Heidrich. "Roof Design in Regions of Snow and Cold." In Proceedings, Fourth International Conference on Snow Engineering, pp. 213-224. 2000.
National Slate Association, and Vermont Structural Slate Co. Slate Roofs. Vermont Structural Slate Company, 1926.
Nielsen, Anker, and Johan Claesson. "Snow and freezing water on roofs." In COLD CLIMATE HVAC 2009, Sisimiut Greenland, 16-19 March 2009. 2009.
Sack, Ronald L. "Designing structures for snow loads." Journal of Structural Engineering 115, no. 2 (1989): 303-315.
Tobiasson, Wayne, James Buska, and Alan Greatorex. "Snow guards for metal roofs." In Cold Regions Engineering@ sThe Cold Regions Infrastructure—An International Imperative for the 21st Century, pp. 398-409. ASCE, 1996.
Tobiasson, Wayne, James Buska, and Alan Greatorex. "Ventilating attics to minimize icings at eaves." Energy and Buildings 21, no. 3 (1994): 229-234.
Tobiasson, Wayne. "General considerations for roofs." Moisture Control in Buildings, ed. HR Trechsel, ASTM Manual Series: MNL 18 (1994): 291-320.
Tobiasson, Wayne, and J. S. Buska. Standing seam metal roofing systems in cold regions. US Army Corps of Engineers, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, 1993.
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 Precision Snow-Guards, AceClamp®, Standing Seam Metal Roof Supplies, Precision Snow-guards™ - c/o PMC Industries, Inc.
87 Spring Lane, Plainville, CT 06062
Tel: (860) 229-SNOW (7669) provides clear or colored plastic snow guards for metal and rubber roofs, available in "King" and "Queen" sizes. Tel: (860) 229-SNOW (7669). Website: http://www.snow-guards.com/snowguards.php
 S-5!® Snow Retention Systems, S-5! Attachment Solutions,
Metal Roof Innovations, LTD.
8655 Table Butte Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80908
(888) 825-3432, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.s-5.com/snow/
The company's products include milled solid block aluminum snow rail mounting clamps of varying shapes & designs. We are evaluating the S-5! clamps provided by this company. These clamps attach to the standing seams on a metal roof and in turn are used to attach a snow rail or snow fence. The company also provides solar panel hold-downs for metal roofs.- Ed.
 SnoBar™, Tel: 800-711-9724, Website: http://www.snobar.com/index.html The company's products include a patented one-piece roof clamp bracket & other brackets for attaching bars used as snow rails or snow fences. No street address was provided.
 Alpine SnowGuards®
289 Harrel Street
Morrisville, VT 05661 Tel: 888-766-9994, Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.alpinesnowguards.com/ [No direct retail sales]
 ATAS Snow Retention Products, ATAS Headquarters
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18106
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: http://www.atas.com/Company/Contact.aspx
 Pacific Sheet Metal,
Aspen Office & Shop,
401 Aspen Airport Business Center Aspen, Colorado 81611, Email: email@example.com, Tel: 970.925.2454. The company provides a line of very sturdy snow rails or fences that mount to the seams of a metal roof.
 Gough Snow Guards, Brookfield IL, Tel: 708-485-6272, Website: http://www.snoguard.com/ The company's products include copper snow guards installed on slate roofs and tile roofs, as well as standing seam metal roof snow retention systems.
 AMSI Supply 4333 Lynwood Ct, Douglasville, GA 30134, metal roofing components, Tel: 800-943-9771
 SnowGrip, 126 Woodward Ave.,
Iron Mountain, MI 49801, Tel: 06-396-7000, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.snowgripit.com/
 Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: email@example.com or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
 "From Asbestos to Zinc, Gutters", Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, web search 9./29.10, original source:
 Terry Anderson, "Snow Retention - the Invisible Code", web search 7/13/12, original source: http://snow.tra-mage.com/news-articles/snow-retention-the-invisible-code.html [copy on file as: Anderson Dec 2011 Interface.pdf ]
Roofing The Right Way, Steven Bolt, McGraw-Hill Professional; 3rd Ed (1996), ISBN-10: 0070066507, ISBN-13: 978-0070066502
Slate Roofs, National Slate Association, 1926, reprinted 1977
by Vermont Structural Slate Co., Inc., Fair Haven, VT 05743, 802-265-4933/34. (We recommend this book if you can find it. It
has gone in and out of print on occasion.)
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
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