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Posts tagged ‘thatch fire safety’

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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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Buying a thatched property

Many prospective owners of thatched houses are often dissuaded by friends and family who ‘wrongly advise’ that owning a thatched property is expensive, has an increased risk of fire and requires constant attention. This is not the case!

However, if you are considering owning a thatched property that is part of our national heritage, it is advisable to find out as much information about the property as possible.

Below are some suitable questions to ask:

  • Which thatcher does the current owner use?
  • What thatching works have been carried out and when?
  • What materials have been the used on the both the ridge and main coatwork?
  • Does the owner or thatcher know if any fire barriers have been fitted?

It may be worth considering a separate survey for a thatched roof. A local thatcher is the best person to offer an opinion on the current condition and advise when future works are likely to be required and what the costs will be.

It is also advisable to find out as much information about the chimney especially if there is an open fire or a wood burner installed.

  • Find out if a liner is installed. If so, ask what type of liner is it and who installed it?  Ask for copies of any related installation documents such as a HETAS certificate etc.
  • Has the chimney and/or liner been inspected by means of a CCTV inspection, if so request details
  • When was the chimney last swept and by whom?
  • Does the chimney have a spark arrestor fitted?

Find out when the electrical circuits were last inspected and tested. Insurance companies will require electrical test inspections, so request a copy of the last inspection certificate.

Finally, speak to specialist insurance companies beforehand. They may have a ‘check-list’ or certain criteria that has to be met.

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U-Values & Condensation in thatch

Thatch Roof Rafters

U-Values & Condensation in thatch
Modern living under thatch has changed in the last 10 to 15 years, with the introduction of modern central heating, double/secondary glazing, power showers and more home owners wanting fully vaulted ceilings. In addition, the requirements and associated recommendations from Building Control and insurance companies see the requirement for fire barriers and increased levels of insulation to be installed within the roof structure.

All these areas can have an effect on the performance of thatched buildings, therefore all components of the roof structure need to be built into U-Value calculations/reports.

U-Values are expressed in units of watts per degree of temperature difference W/m²K. Overall U-Values will vary according to actual thickness and density of the thatch. For example:

  • 300mm thickness of Water Reed – 0.29 W/m²K
  • 300mm thickness of Long Straw – 0.23 W/m²K

For comparison, the standard in Part L of the Building Regulations (2010) for replacement roof insulation at rafter level is 0.18 W/m²K.

A suitable insulation product to help achieve a U-Value of 0.18 would be Thatchbatts® as they are non-combustible, high density slabs which also offer additional protection in terms of fire resistance.

Vapour Control
It is widely accepted in the construction industry that in addition to sufficient levels of insulation, vapour control layers are required to control vapour and reduce the risk of condensation. A correctly fitted vapour check will also play an important part in the way the building continues to perform in the long term.

Bespoke U-Value & Condensation Risk Analysis reports can be generated for thatched roofs and will take into account the design and construction, type of materials used and location within the country.

See the Thatching Advisory Services website for further information and product details.

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Thatching Advisory Services – New Website

Thatched cliff-top shelter overlooking Seaton beach

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.

www.thatchingadvisoryservices.co.uk

 

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Thatchsayf – Thatched Cottage

Thatched Cottage - front

Thatching Advisory Services, whilst taking advantage of the recent warm weather, continued their busy schedule of treating thatched roofs with Thatchsayf fire retardant with a comprehensive application carried out to the roof of the Thatched Cottage  in Shedfield, Hampshire.

The 220m² roof was treated with clear Thatchsayf.

For further details about Thatchsayf fire retardant, please give us a call on 08455 204060.

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Thatchsayf – Bilbrook Cottage

Bilbrook Cottage - front

Thatching Advisory Services have been out and about recently treating a number of thatched roofs with their fire retardant – Thatchsayf.

Mid-July saw Gary go off to Portadown in Northern Ireland where Master Thatchers (North) Ltd recently completed a full re-thatch of the roof at Bilbrook Cottage.

The cottage, which is one of Portadown’s oldest – dating back to 1642 – was extensively damaged by fire in April 2013.

The cottage also had TAS100 Thatch Fireboards and Thatchbatts® installed prior to the thatching taking place.

The 230m² roof was treated with clear Thatchsayf.

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New Meeting room at Thatchers Cider

Thatching Advisory Services - Thatchers Cider

A new meeting room currently being built at Thatchers Cider has been designed to showcase sustainable construction techniques. With that in mind, the Sandford cider maker asked Somerset master thatchers, Dunbar & Bunce to install a new thatched roof.

Passionate about conservation, both Tom and Nigel – together with their team of highly skilled thatchers, provide an extremely knowledgeable and sympathetic approach to both historic buildings as well as modern applications, such as new houses and extensions.

It is being built with a solid oak framework and natural stone walls. Prior to the actual thatching,  the roof  timbers were covered with Thatch Firewall Membrane, which is one of the fire barriers provided by Thatching Advisory Services.

Martin Thatcher, Managing Director says, “Our new meeting room is being built in the heart of a beautiful part of one of our orchards, in a thicket, overlooking a pond. It is an opportunity for us to show how we embrace nature. Beinyears.”

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Dorset Model – Technical guide to planning requirements for thatched properties.

Dorset Model

Thatch is enjoying a resurgence. Architects, builders and owners increasingly acknowledge the advantage of thatch insulation and aesthetic qualities. Recognising this increasing popularity the eight building control authorities throughout the county of Dorset reviewed current building controls for a thatched roof.

The result of these controls will:

  • Either protect the main structure of the building if a fire occurs.
  • Or provide better protection for the roof members if a fire occurs.
  • Require an acceptance to treat the thatch as sacrificial in a fire.

Companies specialising in thatch roof insurance welcome the “Dorset Model” and recognise that it will reduce the premiums paid.

www.thatchingadvisoryservices.co.uk/Dorset_Model.asp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thatchbatt® The Real Thing!! from Thatching Advisory Services.

---- Imitation Flyer - April 2014.

TAS has recently embarked on a campaign to highlight the authenticity of one its products – Thatchbatts® and has sent out information highlighting the levels of testing and approvals that the product has gone through.

In summary, when specifying a non-combustible insulation product for a thatched roof, this needs to been done on a like for like basis and therefore careful consideration should be given to the specification. Thatchbatts® are a vital component of both the TAS-Thatch Firewall & TAS-Fireboard systems.

For more information about Thatchbatts® or other Thatch Fire Barriers, please contact Thatching Advisory Services on 08455 20 40 60.

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TAS – The Thatch Alert Chimney Monitor System

Listed Heritage Front Cover Issue 93 ...

Thatching Advisory Services Thatch Alert Chimney Monitor System.

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.

Thatching Advisory Services Thatch Alert Chimney Monitor
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