I guess we're not done getting our share of snow yet. We had another 6 inches on the ground this morning and its been snowing steadily all day. Combined I think that is over 24” of snow in the past three days. It's fun for the kids, but messy on the roads. I have a short drive to work and saw two accidents.
Snowfall like we have recently had is why we have a requirement in our local city to have home plans reviewed by a structural engineer. The way roofs are constructed in the southern states is a little different than they are here. So, if some one buys a home plan that was designed by an architect from the south, they will need to have it reviewed by a structural engineer. Why? So that when it snows 24” in just a few days, the roof will support the weight of that heavy snow.
On the other hand, if someone down South buys a house plan that is designed for a rocky mountain area, they would be over-building the roof if they just follow the plan. They probably wouldn't need all the strength we would here to support snow loads, but instead would need more structural resistance to wind speeds or whatever. Structural engineering is becoming more commonly required by different municipalities and is a separate service from home design. Just because a city requires an engineer's review does not mean that the plans are not drawn adequately - its just a precautionary measure to make sure that you're building the home to withstand the elements to a certain degree. What's the saying? “better to be safe than sorry?”