1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

roof snow removal

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jasonflippin, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. jasonflippin

    jasonflippin Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I have been asked to put together a bid to remove the snow on a few large department stores around here. How would you guys go about removing the snow on a flat roof building? I imagine there is probably about 2 feet of snow up there. I assume there 100,000 feet a peice. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Stan

    Stan Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    A while back the building at work had a problem like that. They used alot of "laborors" with shovels and wheel barrows and dumped off the edge of bldg.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Jason, do you need to remove the snow from the site or can you leave it on-site? If on-site, will you need to pile it in specific locations? Being a commercial building, you will need someone on the ground to keep people from walking close to the building and getting hit with falling snow. If you can pile it on-site, you can probably get by with a skidsteer. If you need to truck it off-site, you'll need a loader and tri-axle dump. With 24" of snow (and likely frozen layers), you'll probably need a couple of guys with ice choppers and 2-3 guys with snow shovels. There are several larger capacity models on the market that you just push instead of lifting which would probably be better for your needs.

    To give you an idea of time required - My office has a flat roof that is approx 900 sq ft. With a 3-4" fairly light snow and frozen "crust" on top took me about 1/2 hour. Wet, heavy snow of 6" has taken over an hour (but I would take breaks and not hurry - hey, I'm an old man).

    Something you may not have considered is insurance. I considered roof cleaning, but the insurance was a deal killer. Basically, the rates go up the same as the feet leave the ground.

    Hope all this helps a little.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2004
  4. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    Could you get a snow blower on the roof. That would make it a lot easier.
  5. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    100,000 sq feet and acre is 42,000 sq ft plus, You want to shovel or snowblow 2 and a quarter acres? Insurance will be high , what happens if you damage the roof (big money) Can you find help to get up on a roof for hours on end in 15 degree weather with the wind blowing? Go up on a flat commercial roof with no snow and look at all the wires ,vents etc. Is the roof covered with stones? Check the roofing material rubber , roll roofing and tar etc.
    Finally do you want to be responsible for a roof cave in because you didnt get the snow removed in a timely fashion?
  6. Remsen1

    Remsen1 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    This is a very good question to make you think. I charge $.04 per sq ft. however I have never done a building that would require me to carry the snow such a far distance. (If your building is square it is approx 315'x315', that is a loooooooong way to have to carry/push/blow snow just to get it to the edge.) Not to mention the things the others have mentioned, hidden hazards under the snow, liability, where you can and can't put snow etc. I would recommend to charge by the sq.ft. or sq.yd. and chage incrementally higher, the further the footage is from the edge of the roof or from allowable dumping area.

    I project that this job will take approx. 240-400 man hours if done all by shovel. Shortcus may help speed it up. Obstacles and limitations will slow you. Consider everything everybody has said and bid accordingly.
  7. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 413

    check with your insurance company safety department and OSHA
    I see roofing companies installing safety cables around the perimiter of the roof on commercial buildings
  8. Crumm

    Crumm Senior Member
    Messages: 529

    In Valdez, AK they use snow blowers on flat roofs but they mark all obstacles like vents with tall poles before the first snowfall. Valdez is the only place up here I have seen them do this but then they get more snow than anyplace else in the state. If the roof obstacles are not well marked then I would not recommend heading up there with a blower. It's shovel time........
  9. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    couple of snowblowers maybe a skid steer dont how the hell you would get it up there
  10. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    Maybe you could push snow with a ATV. 2 feet is pretty deep though.
  11. JElmWin

    JElmWin Senior Member
    Messages: 232


    I'm a union carpenter. I regularly work on large commercial structures. The buildings you describe probably have either a rubber or pebble roof. I would go with snowblowers. There are going to be things hidden under 2' of snow. Mostly drain grates, possibly some vent pipes. These obstacles will do more damage to a snowblower than you will to them.
    Don't pile up the snow in one spot (on the roof). Keep it distributed evenly until you get it off, also don't have everyone working close together as this also will create undo structural stress.
    If it's a rubber roof:
    Get a snowblower with adjustable "feet" like a snowplow. You dont want to allow the cutting edge of the blower to come in contact with the roof. Make sure the "feet" don't cut into the roof either.
    If it's a pebble roof you're o.k. As long as the blower doesn't lift too many pebbles.
    :bluebounc Important! Take a walk around the inside of the store first. Look up at the ceiling. It's probably a suspended ceiling. If it has brownish, discolored tiles then you're probably dealing with a leaking roof. This is sometimes common in older buildings. You'd better think twice about clearing a roof with pre-existing problems. Also if some of the tiles don't match then they might have been replaced due to water damage.
    To get your equipment up try renting a fork tractor A.K.A. LULL/Highlander.
    OSHA may require you to have guard rail/ropes within so many feet of the roof edge. You can rent this equipment from a local commercial equipment dealer.
    If this is a one-shot deal then you may be able to get an insurance rider for this job alone.
    GOOD LUCK!;)

    PROPJCKEY Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    how bout' this.......tap into the gas pipe for the roof top hvac units, tent off areas, run some construction heaters and let the drains take care of the water. Then, you can charge more to salt the run-off area in the parking lot! Or.......around here we can rent outdoor electric blankets for thawing frozen ground in the winter so we area able to dig foundations.....just a thought. Also start in the middle and work out so the loads are distributed evenly.
  13. YenkoCamaro

    YenkoCamaro Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    i did a couple of those..... one i could get a skidd steer up there so i used it, but the other i had to do by hand... so i called the insurance company and they said they would pay out between $60-75/hr for the service. so if your gonna do it by the hour charge somewhere in that range.:drinkup: