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Posts tagged ‘thatched property’

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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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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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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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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 – Stream Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thatching Advisory Services recently completed the application of Thatchsayf fire retardant to Stream Cottage in Glynde, East Sussex.

The Grade II listed cottage is one of the oldest in the Glynde parish, dating back to 1556.

Prior to the new thatch, the roof structure also had TAS100 Thatch Fireboards and Thatchbatts® installed.

The 127m² roof was thatched by Gavin MacDonald Master Thatcher

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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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