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Posts tagged ‘thatch fire barriers’

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Thatch Fires – 2018

With this cold spell set to last, it is worth repeating the message that it is crucial that chimneys and flue liners are swept and inspected.

For the last five years and always around this time of year, the UK has experienced a prolonged dry spell coupled with bitterly cold Easterly winds. This results in very dry thatch roofs and many homeowners continuing to use their wood burners and open fires much more than they normally would.

Last Friday sadly saw the first major thatch fire of the year. The cause is not yet known.

Care must be taken when first lighting and it is imperative the right fuel is used on both wood burners and open fires.

Please take time to read our thatch fire safety advice leaflet, which offers sensible advice on how to minimise the risk.

TAS – Thatch Fire Safety Advice

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Thatch Fire Protective Membranes

There are many fire membranes on the market ‘suitable for use beneath thatch’.

Are they suitable? What’s the difference?

Nearly all fire membranes are PU (polyurethane) coated.

PU28 is still often asked for and is widely used to describe fire barriers within the thatching industry. PU28 was used as a development code for a new membrane product and this code has stuck with many membranes to this day.

There are many formulations for a PU coating, some more economical than others. Some are solvent based, while most standard PU finishes would certainly fail a smoke & toxicity test.

A membrane, PU or other may have a BS type test. What test? The testing it carries may not be an indicator of a product’s quality as some tests are not as robust as others and may not be reflective of the environment in which a product is used.

Waterproof, water resistant and breathable.

Waterproof can be defined as an objects’ capacity to be impervious – water won’t get in.

Water resistant means water isn’t going to get in easily.

Breathable

An often used but nonsense adjective. Membranes cannot breathe. Nor can wine. We can.

A ‘breathable’ membrane (or breather membrane) is water resistant and air permeable. The majority of air permeable products will have a high moisture/vapour transmission rate but will not breathe.

Check if a product is waterproof and breathable – many are!!

TAS – Thatch Firewall Membrane

Manufactured in the UK.

Looks and feels similar to a PU28 type membrane but with a far superior coating – a temperature resistant aluminised polymer system.

Tested beneath a combustible material - thatch - to meet both BS476-3:2004 & BS EN 13501-5:2005.

Designated as Broof (t4) – the highest performance in accordance within the European class – BS EN 13501-5:2005, which refers to four separate tests. The suffix (t4) indicates that Test 4 is to be used for the purposes of Approved Document B (Fire Safety) B4 External fire Spread.

Water resistant and tested for air and water vapour permeability.

Tested to meet the same smoke and fire toxicity specification for commercial aircraft.

These are just a few of the tests TAS – Thatch Firewall Membrane carries. When considering a PU28 type fire barrier for use beneath thatch, it would be worth asking a few more pertinent questions.

For further details and information about TAS – Thatch Firewall Membrane, please call the office.

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LABC Registered Details

labc_4890_reg_regdetails_reduced

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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Ideal Home Show 2017

IDH logo...

Thatching Advisory Services are pleased to announce their involvement in the ‘Future Thatch’ project at the 2017 Ideal Home Show.

The project will see TAS working alongside master thatcher – Paul Wareing (Heart of England Master Thatchers) – www.heartofenglandthatchers.com

The ‘Future Thatch’ project will see a newly built thatched property in the main show village.

Every year, the main stunning feature of the Ideal Home Show is the three fully built show homes where over 250,000 visitors have the opportunity to fully explore and take inspiration from. The last time a thatched house featured in the Ideal Home Show was 1976.

Each show home is built to Building Regulations and like many thatched new builds; the show home will incorporate the TAS Thatch Fireboard System and Thatchsayf Fire Retardant Spray System.

We are delighted to play a leading role on the thatched show home and will be on hand throughout the show, which runs from March 24th – April 9th 2017 at Olympia in London.

 

 

 

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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

IMG_0074

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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Thatchsayf Spray System – Thatch Fire Retardant

Thatchsayf - Fire Retardant

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.

Testing

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

 

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