Posts tagged ‘chimneys in thatch’
Fire – Causes
A report from fire investigators Burgoynes into the cause of thatch fires revealed ejected embers and sparks as one of the main causes.
Investigations have shown that many thatch fires relate to the use of wood burning stoves and have occurred within 30 minutes of the stove being lit. In addition, some home-owners were found to be using unsuitable materials to get the wood burner/fire started in the first place.
Other causes can increase the risk of the effects from ejected embers or sparks, these include:
Spark Arrestors – If not cleaned at least once a year then soot deposits can build up and ignite causing a fire in their own right, which in turn could cause a thatch fire. A number of fire services recommend the removal of spark arrestors although a wire-mesh bird guard could be installed to deter birds from nesting but still allow the chimney to function efficiently.
Chimney Height – The risk of a thatch fire is further increased when the chimney height has been reduced following many years of re-coating works, this is more common with thatching materials such as long straw.
Fire Retardant Sprays
The main purpose of a fire retardant is to starve the ignition area of oxygen and therefore delay the spread of flame and the full development of a thatch fire. The idea is to buy more time so that the fire and rescue service have a greater chance of extinguishing the fire before it fully develops.
Thatchsayf Spray System is a water based solution containing fire retardant and intumescent ingredients for the protection of thatched roofing.
This environmentally friendly solution is applied externally to the thatch surface and penetrates the stems of the thatch by up to 75mm, forming a thin protective film on the surface of the thatch stems.
A treated roof will offer protection from a number of fire risks, including sparks, ejected embers, bonfires, Chinese lanterns, fireworks and barbecues.
On exposure to these risks, Thatchsayf Spray System will ‘foam up’ (intumesce) and form a carbonised char, which binds the thatch stems together, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the fire, delaying the spread of flame and lowering the radiated heat output.
The application of Thatchsayf Spray System is undertaken by our fully trained employees using specialist spraying equipment and is normally carried out between March and the end of October. This is due to the high levels of moisture in the air during the winter months.
Once a roof is treated, the homeowner is issued with a Certificate of Completion, which is valid for five years after which re-application is required.
A new build/newly thatched roof offers a good opportunity to treat a roof. However, an existing thatched roof can also be treated as long as it is in good condition. Thatchsayf Spray System can be applied as a standalone product or in addition to having a physical fire barrier system installed.
We suggest you contact your insurance company to check if any discounts are available for taking a proactive approach by treating the roof with a fire retardant spray and fire barriers.
Thatchsayf Spray System has been tested to vigorous testing by the British Research Establishment (BRE). Further details of testing is available upon request. Thatchsayf Spray System is tested to BS476 Part 3 and achieved the designation of EXT.S.BA
The benefits of Thatchsayf Spray System
- Fire penetration may be delayed for over 30 minutes with no spread of flame
- Can be applied to new or existing thatched roofs
- Contains preservatives
- Retards bacterial and fungal growth including moss
- Application is fully certified for 5 years
- Environmentally friendly
- May reduce insurance premiums
There are approximately 60,000 thatched properties in the UK, of which 50-80 suffer a serious fire each year, most of which are completely destroyed. 90% of the homes struck by thatch fire have a combination of a wood burning stove either a flexible chimney liner or no liner at all.
Chimneys should be checked to ensure the brick or stonework is in good condition. Old or poorly maintained chimneys with loose or missing bricks & mortar and not lined, could allow hot gases and smoke to escape into upper rooms, the loft space or directly onto the thatch. If re-thatching works are taking place and the thatch around the chimney stack is removed, the thatcher will be able to advise on its condition.
Ensure chimneys are regularly swept by an experienced and qualified chimney sweep. This normally needs to be done at least twice a year, however if the chimney is used frequently during the winter period then additional sweeping may be required. Your sweep will be able to offer you further advice. Many chimney engineers and other specialist companies offer a CCTV survey, this is recommended to check the internal condition of the flue. Again check with your property insurer because some of them have a list of approved companies.
A number of thatch fires occur as a result of old or inappropriate flue liners, therefore chimneys serving either an open fire or multi-fuel appliance should be suitably lined. Contact an appropriate professional body such as HETAS so a registered chimney engineer can review the liner (if already installed) to ensure it is fit for purpose for the type of appliance or fire in use.
An engineer will also be able to advise on the condition of the liner and recommend on how often it should be checked. If you are considering installing a wood-burner or similar, again contact HETAS who will advise on the most suitable appliance and liner for the property.
Thatching Advisory Services (TAS) recently launched it’s new website. The new site contains the latest information on fire protection as well as comprehensive advice on buying, owning and maintaining thatched properties. There is a new section devoted to new builds and extensions which includes detailed information on roof construction and the latest building regulations.
There is comprehensive information on all our products and systems and a new facility to buy the products via our online shop.
Have a look around the site and feel free to contact us with feedback or if you have any further questions or queries.
Good advice for your thatched property.
During recent times we have seen an increase in the number of calls from people who are in the process of purchasing a thatched property and are looking for more detailed advice; covering areas such as chimneys, electrical systems, insurance providers, and much more to include the names of local thatchers.
In light of the increased requirement in the industry for more advice, we have updated our safety advice leaflet. The new leaflet gives guidance on areas such as chimneys, wood burning stoves, electrical systems, detectors & alarms and fire barriers.
Over the coming weeks we will be supplying thatcher’s with copies of the leaflets so that if required, they can hand out these to home owners.
Our system was chosen to be included in the Listed Heritage Shopping section of The Listed Property Owners Club Magazine.
Listed Heritage Magazine is a high quality magazine which is distributed to 19,000 listed property club members.
The Thatch Alert Chimney Monitor System has been specifically designed to monitor the temperature of the chimney brickwork at the point where it meets the thatch. The system acts as an early warning device to inform the home owner of potential high temperatures.
Rob and Gary from Thatching Advisory Services attended the National Society of Master Thatchers Annual Conference and AGM on Saturday 15th March.
The conference, which was held at the Norfolk Arms Hotel in Arundel, was well attended and included some excellent presentations and discussions. These included the Thatchmark programme, Fire Barriers and Insulation, health and safety with the NFU and chimney safety.
Thatching Advisory Services will be attending
The National Society Of Master Thatchers Annual Conference and AGM.
Entitled ‘For the Good of Thatch’
Friday 14th to Sunday 16th March 2014
It is to held at The Norfolk Arms Hotel, Arundel in West Sussex.
The agenda will include discussions on: The Thatch Mark Standard, Chimney safety and Fire barriers and insulation.
Fires & Fireplaces November 2013 Issue
Chimneys in thatched properties.
Thatching Advisory Services collaborated with Hetas on an Editorial in The Technical column of Fires & fireplaces November 2013 Issue; to offer guidance on how to ensure chimneys installed in thatch comply with building regulations.
Rob Norcott of Thatching Advisory Services was invited to write an article for the International Fire Fighter magazine.
The IFF magazine reports world wide to professionals in municipal and industrial fire and rescue services. The magazine is subscribed to across the globe in 36 countries.
The 5 page piece was centered around the importance of separation in construction on thatched roofs. The article also takes you through common causes of thatch fires and the various systems and preventive measures available.
To read the article in full follow the link below.