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Posts tagged ‘Thatching Advisory Services’

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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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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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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 – 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 – 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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