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Although we haven't yet seen snow around our offices, colder temperatures and chilly winds are definitely here. So it won't be before long until we're pulling out the ice scrapers and road salt to battle the onset of wintry mixes.

However, because we tend to see less of this inclement weather than other areas of the country, we're not nearly as efficient as they are in clearing it away or preparing for it -- in fact, drivers in our area normally panic at the first sight of flakes. Similar shock can set in for those who may be moving to an area more prone to snow that their current locale. That shock can turn into some seriously flawed design issues as well if such weather isn't taken into account beforehand -- not just in terms of when the home is constructed, but precautions for such elements once the home is completed as well.

Snowfall and its relation to the site should be a major point of consideration at the onset of the design process. A lot of people try to take a plan and just put it on the site instead of making adjustments, which can cause water issues such as leakage and mold in the home or issues with drainage around the home. Consider draining methods, whether from snow melting and coming down the hill, or coming off the roof and draining around the home, ahead of time to prevent future damage. You also need to consider where the snow is going to drop so that it doesn't impede access points to the home.

Snowloads are a factor for many mountain homes as well and may require additional support for roofs and/or outdoor living spaces, depending on the amount of snowfall in the area. Proper roof insulation also will assist in dealing with extreme mountain climates.

Even if you're not building in a heavily snow-prone area, an eye toward drainage and traffic flow can help mitigate potential hazards. The more you plan ahead, the less likely you are to experience any unpleasant surprises.

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