Owners of older commercial buildings advised by municipal inspectors to remove snow from roofs.

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Shifting to a different topic, Anchorage is currently facing a series of roof collapses due to the heavy snowfalls this winter. Building inspectors have warned owners to clear their roofs of snow and ice as soon as possible due to potential problems with top-chord hung trusses from the 1970s and 1980s found in flat-roofed commercial buildings. In some cases, metal plates from that construction era may have been too small or not properly placed, potentially allowing beams to split and trusses to break, especially when rooftop snow or ice compounds the problem. The chain of events that caused the trusses to crumble isn’t known, in part because some evidence is destroyed in the collapse, but the city is planning to analyze the trusses in each collapse to understand the exact mechanism that caused the failure. It’s essential for commercial building owners to remove the snow and ice from the roof as soon as possible, especially for those with flat and pitched wooden trusses from the mid-’70s and ’80s. Engineers have concluded that this year’s heavy snow is not too much weight for the vast majority of Anchorage houses, but thick ice buildup, called ice damming, has been identified as a potential problem at the flat-roofed CrossFit gym.

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