As heavy snow continues in Lithuania and the temperature outside warms up a little, not only are road traffic conditions difficult, but also the problem of snow accumulating on roofs and icicles forming. Arūnas Armanavičius, Head of Building Administration at Civinity Namai, a multi-apartment administration and maintenance company, warns that snow and drift clearance work must be carried out in all buildings and urges residents to be vigilant.
Danger to buildings, residents and cars
Snow, ice and icicles accumulating on roofs pose a safety risk to people and property.
Snow puts heavy loads on roofs that can endanger the technical condition of the roof, as well as the stability of the building’s supporting structures, increasing the risk of roof damage and even building collapse.
Snow on the roof, as well as icicles on the roof or on other elements of the building facade, can fall, posing a risk of serious injury to passers-by or damage to cars or other property left in the vicinity of a building.
Removing snow and icicles from roofs is mandatory
Snow and icicles on roofs must be removed properly and on time. Building owners are responsible for carrying out this work. In the case of multi-apartment buildings, the designated building manager or the chairman of the association.
“The management companies of a multi-apartment building shall carry out snow and icicle removal on their own initiative. If the building is managed by a community chairman, it is important to make sure that the chairman organises the work properly, using specialists in this field. If the building is not maintained by the responsible company, the homeowners are fully responsible for the work that is not carried out and the resulting damage,” says a Civinity Namai representative.
Special preventive measures to reduce risks
It is not enough to have a person or company responsible for clearing snow and icicles. To avoid these risks, homeowners need to install additional protective measures.
One of these is snow traps or snow brakes. According to the legislation, these measures are compulsory for roofs with a slope. This ensures the safety of people over entrances and other walking areas.
Electric insulation of gutters is also recommended to prevent icicles. Such insulation prevents the gutter from freezing and icicles from forming. Another necessary measure is proper insulation of the loft. The heat from uninsulated attics melts the snow on the roof, which eventually turns into icicles.
“There are cases where apartment dwellers refuse to install even the mandatory protection measures in order to avoid additional costs. This is a short-term and irresponsible approach, as failure to install them can cause serious damage to both their own property and the health and lives of people living in or passing by the apartment block,” says Armanavičius.
Asks apartment building residents and passers-by to be vigilant
Snow and icicles on roofs often start to melt and fall as weather conditions change, for example when it freezes at night and temperatures rise during the day. It is advisable to be extra vigilant in such weather.
Residents of a block of flats who notice icicles are asked to report them to the building manager or the community warden.
When walking near buildings, please obey stop lines or other signs and do not walk in fenced pedestrian areas. Even if there are no warning signs, it is advisable not to walk close to the front of a building, especially if there are visible snow accumulations or icicles on the roof.
Working in enhanced mode
According to Armanavičius, during the winter months, Civinity Namai maintains apartment blocks with preventive inspections of the roofs and facades, and in the current weather conditions, the work is being carried out in an enhanced mode.
“We regularly monitor the roofs of the buildings under our care and clean them when necessary. When residents report new icicles, we respond by fencing off buildings and organising cleaning operations. Most of the snow and icicles are currently recorded in Vilnius and Kaunas, while in other cities the demand for this work is much lower,” says a Civinity Namai specialist.