12 Feb Thatched Roof Fire Protection
Do you own a Thatched Property?
Understand the Fire Risks & Protection Required for your Thatched Roof Insurance.
Thatched roof fire protection is part of the package of owning a beautiful thatched property.
As pretty as a thatched cottage is, unfortunately, if a fire takes hold in a property with a thatched roof, the result can be more damaging than in a conventional property. We have been asked by some customers recently to carry out site visits to their thatched property and supply the necessary extinguishers required by their insurance in order to comply with insurance requirements.
We spoke to our legal experts and the below list demonstrates the level of care that is required when owning and insuring a thatched roof property.
- All chimneys to boilers and open fires are kept in a good state of repair and that they are professionally cleaned along the entire length at least once a year before winter use. If you have a spark arrester fitted it must also be thoroughly cleaned at the same time as the chimney.
- All chimneys to solid fuel stoves or burners are kept in a good state of repair and that they are professionally cleaned along the entire length at least twice a year before and during winter use (recommended at least once between 1st July and 31st October prior to winter use and at least once between 1st January and 31st March. If you have a spark arrester fitted it must also be thoroughly cleaned at the same time as the chimney by a member of any of the following professional bodies unless an alternative has been agreed by us:
- National Association of Chimney Sweepers (NACS)
- Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
- Association of Professional and Independent Chimney Sweeps
- All chimneys to solid fuel stoves or burners must be professionally lined and insulated.
All old thatch and thatching are to be taken away from the site for burning or burnt more than 100 meters from the premises.
You must not allow any bonfires/incinerators within your control to be lit within 100 meters of the premises & barbecues, fire-pits or chiminea’s not to be lit within 5 meters of the home
Any stove which has been notified to us as being unused or dormant will not be used for any purpose.
No naked flames or tools producing naked flames are present in the attic or loft space at any time.
The electricity supply system must be inspected and tested at least once every 10 years, or as stated on the Current Electrical Certificate, by a contractor approved by the National Inspection Council of Electrical Installing Contracting (NICEIC). Any faults found must be corrected in line with regulations of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. A certificate of compliance issued by the Inspector is to be produced at inception and lodged with the broker who placed this insurance after each inspection.
Fire Safety in Thatched Properties
90% of fires in thatched properties begin due to a fault in the chimney or flue (Home Office stats). Precautions that may be taken against fires starting from chimneys or flues include;
- Do not build, rebuild or design chimneys without expert advice.
- Keep the chimney swept regularly. Twice a year is advisable or quarterly if the wood is burnt.
- Ensure the top of the chimney stack is 1.8 meters above the thatch. This allows sparks to escape and burn out before settling on the thatch.
- Have the chimney checked to make sure that the brick or stone is in good condition where it passes through the thatch.
- The insulated lining should be fitted where the chimney passes through the thatch and it is also a good idea to have the chimney lined.
- A flue thermometer can be installed to keep a check on the flue temperature.
- If the chimney is used by an appliance that results in flue gases it should always be installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Smokeless fuel is better than peat or coal and any wood burned ought to be resin-free, well seasoned and dry. Wet unseasoned wood results in greater deposits in the flue and poses a fire risk.
Fire precautions that may be taken outside the property are;
- Do not mount external floodlights below the thatched overhang as they produce a lot of heat.
- TV aerials should be fitted to a gable end or to a free-standing pole in order to discourage lightning strikes.
- Do not have barbecues, bonfires or firework parties within 100 meters of the property. If it is necessary to light a garden fire then always check the wind direction and ensure that it’s prevailing direction is away from the house. Try to avoid lighting a fire in hot, dry conditions.
- Install an outside tap with a hose long enough to reach around the property and onto the roof. Ideally, this should be lagged against frost.
If you require any further information regarding limiting the risks in your thatched property and make sure you can get the best insurance possible, give us a call on 01803 472423 or contact us here. We are happy to provide FREE site visits and quotations.
Do you need any fire safety equipment?
We can supply and fit all fire safety equipment to ensure you have the right equipment for the types of fire.