Addressing Falling Snow and Ice Hazards on Building Facades

Addressing Falling Snow and Ice Hazards on Building Facades

Falling snow and ice from building facades can pose serious safety risks for the public, and can place architects, owners, and engineers in a position vulnerable to litigation. While media coverage of falling snow and ice has intensified in recent years, the industry has little consensus on the best strategies for mitigating the buildup and shedding of these winter hazards. In this webinar, we will evaluate several mechanisms that enable snow and ice to accumulate on and fall from buildings. Using traditional snow retention designs for roofs as an introduction, we will focus on how snow and ice interact with projecting facade elements and discuss how contemporary design trends, improvements in performance, and changes in climate patterns contribute to the problem. We will review the lack of industry guidance for designing and evaluating snow and ice retention systems. And we will discuss case studies—including research and laboratory testing and project-specific mockup testing—and how this work can help inform design strategies to mitigate snow and ice issues on building facades.


After attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify potential risks of falling snow and ice from buildings.
  • Discuss factors that contribute to snow and ice accumulation on and shedding from facade elements.
  • Understand code requirements and industry standards, or a lack thereof, for addressing and evaluating snow and ice issues on building facades.
  • Recognize how to mitigate the risk of falling snow and ice in the design of contemporary building facades.

Participants will earn 1.0 AIA CES Learning Unit (LU/HSW) for attending the live webinar. Registration is free. Please note that space is limited – email events@sgh.com to join our waitlist if the session is closed when you register. 

About the Speaker

Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien | Building Technology Division Head, New York

Sean leads the Building Technology group in SGH’s New York City office. He has extensive experience in the architecture and engineering field, specializing in building science and building enclosure performance, including analysis and simulation of heat, air, and moisture migration and energy efficiency issues. He has a particular interest in iconic New York City cultural buildings, helping to make them more sustainable with high-performing enclosures. Sean has investigated and designed repairs for a wide variety of building types and has published papers on topics including mechanical system impacts on building enclosure performance and condensation resistance of windows and curtain walls. He is an active member of several professional organizations in New York and nationally. In addition to his extensive experience in building enclosure design, Sean brings to each project his genuine desire to improve the built environment, meet his client’s specific needs, and help educate both clients and team members along the way.

Amarantha Quintana-Morales
Amarantha Quintana-Morales | Senior Project Manager

Amarantha Quintana-Morales works on projects involving building enclosure investigation, remedial design and renovation, and design consultation of new building enclosure systems. She has experience investigating and designing both contemporary and historic facade claddings, fenestration, roofing, masonry, and waterproofing systems. Her notable projects in New York City include Shepard Hall at City College of New York and the Four Seasons Hotel, as well as multiple historic New York State psychiatric centers. Amarantha has presented on the sensitive use of modern materials in preservation, predesign for building repositioning and enclosure, identifying facade elements at risk of ice buildup/shedding, and energy code compliance for new and existing buildings.  She is a member of the Association for Preservation Technology International and Northeast Chapter, the American Institute of Architects New York, and the National Organization of Minority Architects.