The bowstring truss roofing style was immensely popular throughout the 1920s to the 1960s due to their decreased construction time, lowered construction costs and increased ability for quality control, as well as style, it offered an open floor plan, with no need for load bearing pillars. This style of curved top chords with a straight bottom chord, almost always needs to be updated if built before 1980. While at the time it was popular to build these style roofs, they unfortunately do not hold up to current codes, regulations or aging.
One of the main issues with the bowstring truss roof is the distribution of load, particularly with snow fall. Overbearing the load on one side unevenly distributes the weight, causing damage from over-stress and broken chords. Luckily, it is more cost efficient to repair the roof than install a new one altogether.
There have been a series of recent incidences in which bowstring truss roofs have not been updated and have caused collapse or injury, that’s why it’s important to repair your roof as soon as possible, if you have a bowstring truss construction, and make sure your roof is up to code to offset any future damage.
In recent years, building requirements from the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) have required the update of bowstring truss roofs due to the increase of inclement weather conditions and the deterioration of the connection where the truss meets the load bearing wall.
Using modern framing techniques, the chords can be easily strengthened without worry or disaster.
If your building has a bowstring truss construction, make sure your roof is up to code: Contact us for either a thorough investigation of your building or repair.