Analysis, Design & Performance

Full Session with Abstracts

335009-5 - Considerations for optimizing design with respect to snow – a case study of US Bank Stadium

Saturday, April 21
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: 202A

The optimization of the design of a structure system can lead to significant cost savings and improvement to the function and reliability of a facility. However, it is often necessary to employ methods beyond the provisions outlined in building codes and standards in order to effectively optimize a design. This is clearly highlighted when considering the effects of snow on a structure. In most regions, design snow loads are the cumulative result of the meteorological events that occur over an entire winter. Due to the complex interaction of all of the variables, the guidelines provided in building codes or standards are necessarily generalized. As building geometries and structural systems push the boundaries of conventional design, a strict application of the code is not necessarily synonymous with an optimized structural design as a result of these generalizations. Further, building codes and standards do not provide guidance for assessing and mitigating risks associated with snow and ice that may slide and/or fall from a structure. This is of concern as many design modifications that may be considered to effectively reduce design snow loading magnitudes can significantly increase the potential risks associated with falling ice and snow. While factors such as the slope and thermal performance of a roof may be considered to reduce design loading magnitudes, they can also lead to significant ice accumulations and increase the frequency and severity of ice and snow sliding off of roof surfaces. Similarly, mitigation options put in place to reduce the risks of falling ice and snow can change the snow accumulation characteristics resulting in the need for different assumptions in the derivation of the design snow loads. This paper explores the design process and analysis methods that were employed in the design for snow related concerns for the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Consideration of the various aspects of snow related concerns lead to design modifications that resulted in significant reductions in both the structural steel costs and potential risks associated with snow and ice that may fall from the structure. The target audience is primarily design professionals as this paper outlines potential limitations in building codes and standards and introduces the use of alternative analysis tools to refine design snow loading magnitudes for the optimization of a structural design. It also highlights the need for consideration of the risks of falling ice and snow to provide a truly optimized design.

Jan Dale

Senior Engineer / Principal
Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc.

Jan Dale, M.E.Sc., P.Eng., Senior Engineer and Principal at RWDI Inc. Jan leads a diverse global team of professionals who oversee our microclimate and snow service areas. His technical knowledge and extensive project experience make him an asset not only to our clients, but to our in-house research and development work. Although Jan’s current technical focus is on snow services, including drifting, loading and falling snow, many of our clients’ projects have also been enhanced by his proficiency in wind tunnel development, cladding wind loading and structural wind loading. An established leader in the microclimate field, Jan trains and coaches every member of his team to push the boundaries of our services to meet the ever-changing needs of our clients.

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