Canadian Rental Service

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More than snow blowers and blades

The province of Quebec routinely receives high levels of snowfall in the winter. Quebec City has an average annual snowfall of 3.84 metres, while Montreal averages 2.25 metres per year.


December 1, 2008
By Canadian Rental Magazine

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 Heavy snowfall in Quebec last winter prompted a variety of rental opportunities for area rental companies.


 

The province of Quebec routinely receives high levels of snowfall in the winter. Quebec City has an average annual snowfall of 3.84 metres, while Montreal averages 2.25 metres per year. Contrast that with the 1.33 metres and 1.267 metres Toronto and Calgary respectively receive annually. By any standards, that is a lot of snow, but last year the province had a much higher than average snowfall. That amount of snow combined with warm weather and rain during an early thaw in February 2008 created all kinds of problems for Quebec homeowners and businesses who were faced with damaged and leaking roofs. Roofing contractors were overwhelmed with calls for service from distressed customers.

Èric Giguère, manager of SMS Rents Quebec City store, remembers the situation well. “Our phone was literally ringing off the wall with calls from roofing contractors and homeowners looking for rental equipment to help them clear  roofs and balconies of heavy wet snow and deal with leaking roofs,” Giguère says. “Owners of flat-roofed houses and commercial buildings were particularly hard-hit when the rain and warmer weather came in February.”

Giguère recalls filling multiple rental requests for aerial equipment like scissor and articulating boom man-lifts, heavy wheel loaders, telehandlers and small skidsteers fitted with grapples to clear up debris caused by roof collapse and leakage. Generators and portable lights were also in demand in cases where the electricity had been lost, he says.

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“Because we had all of these items in stock and Job Ready, our SMS Rents store became the one-stop shopping centre for many customers looking for suitable equipment to help them deal with the crisis,” says Giguère. “We supplied everything from water pumps and generators to medium and heavy equipment like aerial lifts.”

The abundant snow lead to numerous school closures, with administrators worried about roof collapses. Shopping malls and other public buildings shared similar concerns. According to Giguère, keeping roofs clear of snow is about the only proactive measure homeowners and business owners can take in the province’s wintry climate. He recalls how many small roof-clearing companies sprang into business in Quebec during the long, snowy winter of 2007 and 2008.

“Normally, most people in Quebec start thinking about and planning for winter around the middle of October,” says Giguère. “Last year, the first snow came early in November, and because of the cold, once it’s here, it doesn’t melt and it just keeps piling up. Predicting snowfall from year to year is a coin-flip.”