Guide to Snow Load Calculation According to Eurocode

Published by rupole1185 on


Snow loads are a critical consideration in the design of structures, particularly in regions prone to snowfall. Eurocode, the European standard for structural design, provides guidelines for calculating snow loads to ensure the safety and stability of structures under snow loading conditions. In this guide, we’ll walk through the key steps involved in snow load calculation according to Eurocode.

Understanding Eurocode for Snow Load Calculation

The relevant part of Eurocode for snow load calculation is EN 1991-1-3, which addresses the general actions – snow loads on structures.

Steps in Snow Load Calculation According to Eurocode

1. Determine the Location and Altitude:

  • Identify the location of the structure and its altitude above sea level.
  • Use the location to determine the appropriate snow zone, as defined in Eurocode.

2. Determine the Ground Snow Load:

  • Refer to the snow map provided in Eurocode to find the ground snow load for the specific snow zone.
  • Identify the return period or design snow load scenario.

3. Consider Additional Snow Loads:

  • Account for additional snow loads due to factors such as drifting, sliding, or snow accumulation on roofs with a slope less than 20 degrees.

4. Determine the Shape Factor:

  • Calculate the shape factor depending on the roof shape and pitch. Eurocode provides specific coefficients for various roof shapes.

5. Calculate the Snow Load on Roofs:

6. Calculate the Snow Load on Other Parts:

  • Determine the snow load on other parts of the structure, such as canopies, by applying appropriate load factors.

7. Design for Eccentricities:

  • Consider eccentricities in the distribution of snow loads, especially for asymmetrically pitched roofs.
  • Design members to account for the most unfavorable load distribution.

8. Document the Calculation:

  • Prepare detailed documentation of the snow load calculation, including inputs, calculations, and references to relevant Eurocode clauses.
  • Include sketches or diagrams illustrating the roof shape and load distribution.

Best Practices and Considerations

  1. Local Variations:
    • Be aware of local variations that might affect snow loads, such as exposure, terrain, or specific conditions at the site.
  2. Quality of Data:
    • Use accurate meteorological data and ground snow load information for the specific location.
  3. Consideration of Climate Change:
    • Consider the potential impact of climate change on snow loads, and if necessary, consult with meteorological experts for updated information.
  4. Regular Inspections:
    • Implement regular inspections, especially in regions with heavy snowfall, to ensure that the structure is not overloaded.


Calculating snow loads according to Eurocode is essential for designing structures that can withstand the effects of snowfall. Engineers must follow the prescribed procedures and guidelines to ensure the safety and stability of structures under various snow loading conditions. Always refer to the latest version of Eurocode and seek professional advice for specific or complex applications.

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Categories: Regulations

1 Comment

Guide to Wind Load Calculation According to Eurocode - Cloud HPC · 22 November 2023 at 12:28 pm

[…] and Eurocode provides comprehensive guidelines for calculating these loads – such as snow load. Ensuring that structures can withstand the forces imposed by the wind is crucial for safety and […]

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