How to prevent falling ice

The facility that I manage has a pitched brick facade on three parapets of the building. The problem that I am having is that in the winter these pitches get icy and I have large chunks that fall when it thaws. I have had both snow fence and heat tapes recommended to me but the owner does not want either for aesthetic reasons, and he’s not convinced that snow fence would really help anyway. Does anybody have any ideas?

It sounds like the owner is more concerned with aesthetics than safety. Hard to figure a plan around that.

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Explain to them that a snow guard will be MUCH cheaper than a personal injury lawsuit when the falling ice hits somebody

They make small,decorative snow guards. They won’t be as effective as the full fence but they do help. What kind of roof is on them?

One of his big concerns with snow fence is that he doesn’t understand how it works, and I don’t seem to be able to explain it to him very well. One of the things that I’ve been looking into is trying a superhydrophobic coating, if the water can’t stick no ice… that’s my theory anyway. The problem that I’m running into there is that several years ago a fly by night roofer did a recover on this building and convinced everyone at the time that the leaking wasn’t the roof that he screwed up but the brick… so he slopped an elastomeric coating on the brick.

This owner has had a ton of smoke blown up his butt in the past about the building. So it makes my life that much harder to convince him even though I have a track record of cleaning up their messes.

I think it’s time you shared a picture with us now with the more details you give.

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Here are 2 pictures…

Damn… so many rules to post 2 pictures… lol

The best solution is to beat the architect with a 2X4… After that, you might consider how to vent that masonry. If it’s building ice, there has to be a heat transfer there. Still got the “as built” prints?

There are snow fences and the are are snow fences.
You obviously haven’t shown him one that has acceptable aesthetic regard that looks as thought it was intended to be there as per original.
Find one that enhances the overall presence of the building and he may surprise you

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I like the idea of beating the architect with a 2x4 but, the building is over 30 years old and I just don’t see the sport in that… Being that it’s the east and west faces that are the real problem, what I think is going on is that we get radiant heating from the face of the building that transfers up the pitch and melts the bottom of the snow. I do have the “as built” prints.

Also I’m looking into repainting the pitched areas with a hydrophobic coating with the theory of if the water doesn’t stick the ice doesn’t form. Any thoughts on if this would work?

Is the pitched masonry solid in that detail? If not, vent it. Other than that, If you cover the whole face, it might look ok without having to paint or modify it in any way…