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Posts tagged ‘TAS’

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LABC Registered Details

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Thatching Advisory Services (TAS) have received notification that both their Thatch Fireboard System and Thatch Firewall Membrane System has been approved and added to the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Registered Details database. LABC registration is a one-off certification process proving compliance with building regulations and standards across the UK.

The registered details database contains various products and systems, which once certified, are accepted by LABC building control surveyors in over 300 local authorities across the country. This assures the whole construction industry that a product or system has been rigorously checked by LABC surveyors.

Full details on both systems can be viewed via the LABC links below:

LABC – Thatch Firewall Membrane System

LABC – Thatch Fireboard System

 

 

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Thatch Fire Research

Thatch research update

TAS recently attended a workshop to hear the results to date of an NFU Mutual Insurance, Historic England & RISCAuthority research project, which was carried out at the Fire Protection Association’s (FPA) advanced fire test laboratory.

A number of delegates with a professional (and personal) interest in thatch and fire safety were in attendance. Four key speakers offered an interesting insight into the cause of thatch fires and what we can all do to try and minimise the risk:

  • Craig Lawrence – NFU Mutual
  • Dr Jim Glockling – Fire Protection Association & RISCAuthority
  • Alison Henry – Historic England
  • Keith Benjamin – Burgoynes Forensic Investigators

As expected, the main cause of thatch fires is thought to be ejected embers. As soon as the finished guidance and findings become  available, we will of course look to share this information as well as future information resulting from further planned research.

 

 

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Cracking thatched retreat

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Continuing with their busy programme of thatched roof fire protection, TAS recently applied its Thatchsayf Fire Retardant Spray System to the thatched roof of a cracking garden retreat in Bedford.

The retreat was built and thatched by Harry Roberts who is based in Bedford.

We have a number of unusual (and more conventional) projects coming up shortly – provided the summer behaves!

Keep an eye out on the blog for details. If you have any questions about our fire retardant spray system or would like an ‘affordable’ quote & ‘professional service’ or require general thatch advice please contact us.

 

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Hampshire Thatchsayf

Easton

The recent good weather saw TAS out and about spraying thatched roofs across the country with their Thatchsayf Fire Retardant Spray System. First stop was Hampshire for a pair of lovely semi-detached cottages. The thatching was carried out by Ed Goodall last year. During the thatching TAS also installed the Thatch Alert chimney heat monitor system to both chimneys.

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Thatchsayf used on Maudslay Park newbuild

Maudslay Park

TAS recently carried out the application of its Thatchsayf Fire Retardant Spray System to a new build property, which is part of the Maudslay Park development – a new Retirement Village in the Warwickshire village of Great Alne. The thatched property is intended to be a shop for the village and provide warden accommodation. The roof which is approximately 210m² – 22 thatchers’ sq was thatched by Parkinson Master Thatchers.

Prior to the thatching, the roof benefited from the installation of the Thatch Fireboard Protection System comprising TAS100 Thatch Fireboards and 100mm of Thatchbatts®.

The application of the fire retardant was partly carried out using a boom lift (cherry picker). TAS operatives are licenced to operate boom and scissor lifts, which can often reduce the time it takes to treat a roof and also ensures close contact with the thatch. This also allows for greater control and coverage when treating the roof. You can see from this image where the Thatchsayf has already been applied.

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Thatchsayf – spraying season begins

HSG - thatch...

With the albeit brief start of summer, TAS recently kicked off their fire retardant spraying season on a lovely roof in Hinton St George, Somerset.

The new roof which was thatched by local thatcher Andrew Wright, saw a seamless continuation of the existing thatch and formed part of wider refurbishment works and an extension to the whole property.

The entire thatch roof is around 150m² – 16 Thatchers’ sq.

The building and refurbishment works are being carried out by Building Craftsmen (Yeovil) Ltd.

When treating new thatch it may not be apparent how much fire retardant is being applied. However, when existing thatch is treated it becomes quite clear how much fire retardant is actually applied.

Please click on the link below to see examples of the Thatchsayf Spray System being applied to both new and existing thatch.

https://goo.gl/kWjVbB

The airless sprayer used to apply the fire retardant is set at a certain pressure to ensure that not only the surface of the thatch is protected but also the stems of the thatch up to a depth of 75mm or more. This means that even though there will be natural degradation of the thatch itself, there will still be an element of protection for around five years.

The best way to apply the Thatchsayf is with a specialist airless sprayer and at a fairly close distance from the thatch. This allows for greater control and coverage when treating the roof.

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Unique thatched project – Enterprise Centre

Following our epic journey to the Isle of Harris in July, TAS then embarked on another unusual project after we were approached by Master Thatcher – Stephen Letch for our thoughts on treating a unique thatched building in Norfolk with our Thatchsayf fire retardant spray system.

We were aware of a project at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in which Stephen and his team of thatchers had been busy carrying out ‘vertical’ thatching to the walls of the Enterprise Centre. Stephen then confirmed that this was indeed the project.

Please click on the thumbnail images to view the full size images and slide show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project incorporated a unique thatch cassette cladding system which had not been used anywhere in the world. The process saw 294 individual cassettes thatched off-site using straw from the Norfolk/Suffolk borders. The thatch cassettes were then transported to site and erected onto the façade of the building.

Please click on the links below for a couple of great videos showing the thatched cassettes and cladding take shape:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7NyuO_z-84

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEA_25II144

We were initially invited to the centre by the Project Director from main contractor Morgan Sindall and the Lead Architect from Architype to carry out a trial application of the Thatchsayf to a small sample area of the thatch as questions were raised about discolouration to the thatch. Once satisfied, both parties instructed us to carry out the application to the entire thatched façades – around 1,000m² or 108 thatchers’ square.

Gary and Stuart from TAS then spent the best part of a week carrying out the application using cherry pickers and their specialist spraying equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enterprise Centre, which is a Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding building, is the greenest in Britain and one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe.

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Òran na Mara – Song of the Sea

Òran na Mara

How’s this for a stunning property on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides?

TAS were very privileged to play a very small part in this incredible project after we were contacted in late 2014 with a view to treating the roof with our Thatchsayf fire retardant. TAS eventually made the long journey to the island in late July once the thatching works had been completed.

The roof is thatched in marram grass, which was sourced locally on Harris and neighbouring islands. Local thatcher, Neil Nicholson from Uist, sourced all the materials and carried out the work. The roof is around 350m² and had turfs laid over the timbers as a base material.

The project has been a fifteen-year labour of love for the owner Paul Honeywell and his family.

Please check the following links for more stunning pictures and information.

http://www.orannamara.com/

https://www.facebook.com/orannamara

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Fire retardants for thatched roofs

Statistically homes with a thatched roof are no more likely to catch fire than those with a conventional tile or slate roof and nationally represents a small percentage of house fires.

However, the results can be devastating and losses can be extremely high as many thatched properties are listed which invariably leads to higher repair costs. Thatch roofs are designed to repel water making them more difficult to extinguish, which can result in increased damage to the entire property.

There are many measures to reduce the risk of fire one of which is treating the roof with a fire retardant spray.

Which retardant?

A water-based solution of fire retardant and intumescent chemicals in a polymer emulsion binder specifically formulated for the protection of thatch roofing. It should be environmentally friendly with no detrimental effect to plants or animals and of course have no adverse reaction to the thatch.

Fire retardants for thatched roofs should not contain any borates or borate-based additives.

Application

Fire retardant sprays should be applied by trained personnel using high-pressure specialist equipment to treat not only the thatch surface but also the thatch stems to ensure a degree of protection for a number of years.

All too often fire retardants are applied to just the outer surface of the roof (often with a garden-type sprayer) only for them to ‘run-off’ due to the liquid repelling nature of the thatch.

The application should be carried out at a certain pressure using a specific tip spraying upwards into the thatch coat work at the angle of the roof ensuring penetration of between 50mm and 75mm.  This will ensure the fire retardant is applied to both the surface and thatch stems.  On an older roof or specific types of thatch, the pressure can be reduced.

When to apply?

There should be no rain for a minimum of four hours prior to applying a fire retardant, ideally the roof needs to have been exposed to direct sunlight for two hours prior to the application.

Due to the high levels of moisture in the air during the winter months the application is normally carried out between the end of March and at the very latest, depending on the long-range forecast, the end of October. After this time, the damp conditions can slow the curing process and leave the roof more vulnerable to the risk of a rain shower during this time.

Why treat a roof?

The latest report from fire investigators, Burgoynes revealed that out of the 103 thatch fires they investigated between December 2008 and July 2013, the most common cause identified was an ejected ember (64), with the next being a chimney fire (11).

http://www.burgoynes.com/fires-thatched-buildings

Which product?

Thatchsayf is a water-based solution containing fire retardant and intumescent chemicals for the protection of thatched roofing.

When applied correctly, Thatchsayf penetrates the stems of the thatch by up to 75mm and will also form a thin protective film on the surface of the thatch stems.

On exposure to heat, Thatchsayf will foam (intumesce) and form a carbonised char, binding the thatch stems together, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the fire and delaying the spread of flame and lowering the radiated heat output.

Thatchsayf is environmentally friendly, can help prevent bacterial and fungal growth and has no detrimental effect on the thatch.

What are the benefits?

  • Reduced insurance premiums
  • Fire penetration delayed for over 30 minutes
  • Can be applied to new or existing thatched roofs
  • Prevents bacterial and fungal growth inc. moss
  • Application is fully certified

A roof treated with Thatchsayf will offer protection from a number of fire risks, including sparks, ejected embers, bonfires, Chinese Lanterns, fireworks and barbecues.

Thatchsayf is tested to BS476: part 3: 2004 and achieved the designation of EXT.S.BA.

Once a roof is treated, the homeowner will be issued with a Certificate of Completion, which can then be issued to Architects, Building Control Officers, Insurance Companies etc. as proof that the thatch has been correctly treated with Thatchsayf. Certification is valid for 5 years before re-application is required.

Many specialist thatch insurance recognise the application of Thatchsayf and will offer a reduction in premiums to those taking a pro-active approach in reducing the risk of fire.

The application of Thatchsayf is undertaken by trained and approved contractors using a high pressure spraying system. This ensures that the correct pressure and coverage is applied to the thatch.

A typical roof should take no more than a day to treat and will dry within 3-4 hours.

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Chimneys in thatch

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.

Condition
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.

Maintenance
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.

Liner
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.

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