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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

IPF roofers respond to snow and ice buildup on campus roofs

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March 1, 2014

This winter has given MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities crews a long list of weather-related maintenance work across Michigan State University’s campus. In late February, IPF’s roofing crew cleared the roof of the T.B. Simon Power Plant, which had accumulated an estimated 50,000 pounds of snow and ice that measured as much as 6 feet thick in areas of the roof.

“I’ve never seen a winter like this since I’ve been here, and I’ve been here for 28 years,” said Budd Pulver, roofing skilled trades supervisor.

Snow and ice must be removed from the roofs of campus buildings to prevent buildup that could cause huge masses of snow and ice to fall to the ground, which could pose a campus hazard. In winters such as this one, there is also a risk of roofs collapsing from the weight of snow and ice. However, IPF monitors all buildings and utilizes preventive-maintenance planning measures to prevent such situations during the winter season.

Crews work on man-lifts that are from 45 to 85 feet tall, clearing the snow with 16-foot-long snow rakes and hacking away the ice with axes. Once the snow and ice is removed, the roofing crew cleans the debris from sidewalks and entryways. The crew also maintains fire escapes and handles water-proofing leaks during the winter.

Pulver said that most buildings on campus have sloped roofs, but the power plant has a flat roof, which allowed for the massive buildup. Once all the snow thaws, a structural engineer will ensure that the roof did not sustain any permanent damage, according to Pulver.

“We try to be proactive each year,” said Pulver. “The IPF crews have been working late at night, as well as Saturdays and Sundays.”

With the work the crews have been doing this winter, damage to campus buildings from the weather conditions has been minimal, and IPF has continued to keep MSU running throughout the harsh weather.

MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities builds and maintains the physical environment for Michigan State University’s education, research and outreach missions, and directs the university’s sustainability initiatives and long-term infrastructure planning goals. The unit’s experienced team of professionals keeps MSU running 24/7/365, delivering an immense menu of services and providing expert analysis for university objectives. Call (517) 353-1760 for emergency service.