Why Structural Monitoring is Critical During Heavy Snowfall

Structural health monitoring (SHM) systems detect small structural changes that could lead to major failures. They help to prevent damage, avoid unnecessary repairs and save money. Correctly applied SHM systems can provide transportation agencies with insightful and predictive data that increases public safety, reduces life cycle costs, and creates efficiencies during construction. 

Prevent Damage

Snow can add significant weight to your roof, and if the gutters are clogged, melting snow and ice can build up on the roof, which may cause water damage or collapse. Clean the roof and gutters regularly to keep them clear of debris. This also ensures that melted snow and ice runoff drains properly. Inspect the fascia boards, elbows, and eaves for any openings allowing water to enter your home. Seal any gaps with hydraulic cement or masonry caulk before winter. A structural monitoring building can detect structural damage using a numerical model, experimental data, and machine learning algorithms. The framework simulates different structural state conditions under varying operational and environmental conditions and then identifies relevant damage states in the structural response.

Prevent Unnecessary Repairs

Structural monitoring is an essential component of any hazard mitigation plan. The right sensors, software, and data collection techniques can make your job easier while improving the odds of a smoother ride. Using a well-chosen sensor combination can help you get the best performance from your investment in the long term. The most important metric is how well your sensors perform in the field, on and off-site. As you can imagine, a sensor malfunction can lead to costly and time-consuming repairs or replacements. A faulty sensor can also compromise the quality of data collected. The most effective way to prevent this is to take a proactive approach to your asset management program. A structured assessment of your existing equipment and the creation a formal maintenance schedule will result in cost savings and a happier, more productive employee base. A multi-level, ongoing program incorporating internal and external stakeholders is the best way to accomplish this.

Save Money

During heavy snowfall, small structural changes like shifting ground or a slight swaying motion can cause severe damage to a structure. One way to monitor a structure’s state of health is by installing sensors that send data to a remote server via a wireless network. Then, engineers can interpret the information and determine if a structure needs immediate attention.

Save Lives

Structural monitoring is critical during heavy snowfall because it helps prevent structural failure, thereby saving lives. It allows building owners to identify critical and warning signs of structural damage and take action before the problem worsens. Struts and sways that might not be serious can signal an upcoming problem. But only a careful data analysis can tell if a structure has suffered structural damage.

Until now, the only way to detect these tiny changes in a structure’s health was through sensors that could stream data from the structure to a remote server. But this was a very labor-intensive process that required battery-operated sensors. It also required engineers to interpret the data and determine whether or not the structure had experienced any damage.