Newsletter | September 2015

In this Newsletter

Fighting Thatch Fires
Question Time – Thatch Insurance
Problems with Building Regulations
New at the Thatch Advice Centre
Newsletter updates
Thatch Directory
Specialist Spotlight – Billings Chimney and Flue Systems Ltd
Thatch Tale
Next time…
Anything you want to share with us?



In this Newsletter:

Click on the title to show the details.

Fighting Thatch Fires

Let us just remind everyone before the winter of things which you can do to reduce the chances of a thatch fire.

  • Understand the causes based on recent forensic investigation of over 100 thatch fires (read the Burgoynes forensic report on our website).
  • Download our Thatch Safety Leaflet.
  • Think about a Home Safety check from the Fire Service if you have particular concerns.
  • Follow our lead and remember about Test it Tuesday – an alarm is only good if it is working.  We remind everyone on Tuesdays on FB and Twitter.  There are some great reminders to share with friends and family.  This is an  important message whether you are thatched or not!
  • Sweep working chimneys (more than once in the burning season)  We have worked with promoting the Fire Services’ #ChimneyFireSafetyWeek as it is such an important way to reduce the risk of fire (It is also an important stipulation in thatch insurance policies).
  • Burn dry seasoned wood and take care on lighting fires.

A cold snap, part way through the burning season, often sees an increase in thatch fires, this may be due to a chimney fire or even a birds nest so please be aware and reduce the risk considerably by remembering the benefits of a clean chimney.

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Question Time - Thatch Insurance


Some of the questions we have been asked about

  • Insuring a holiday let?
  • Master Thatchers’ Employers and Public Liability Insurance?
  • Insuring a property under renovation?
  • Rebuilding costs? – this is a topic we are hoping to help you more on in the future.
  • Spraying fire retardant 2m around the chimney (Not recommended at all! what if a spark travels 2.1m!) Spray all of the roof.
  • Woodburners- not all underwriters want this risk, but there are those who can help.
  • Chimneys and Listed properties – see section below for an interesting story from a Master Thatcher.

All of these questions have highlighted to us the importance of specialist thatch insurers. Different policies exist which can help you cover properties related to all of the above questions raised. Look on the Thatch Directory or, if you need more information, contact us, we are happy to help. It is so important to have the correct insurance cover.

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Problems with Building Regulations

We were contacted by Master Thatcher who wanted us to let you know about a problem a home owner had had with meeting building regulations on a Listed Property when he wanted to install a wood burner into a chimney on a gable end.  The chimney was single brick.

Compliance with Approved document J of Building Regulations per HETAS guidance, states that combustible material is at least 200mm from the inside surface of a flue or fireplace recess.

The HETAS solution of fireboard and air gap caused the thatcher concern over keeping it watertight.  Furthermore the listed property had cement flashings and would require listed building consent to change to lead flashings to use with this idea.

The final resolution was apparently that the old single brick chimney was taken down and rebuilt larger.  This meant that the size of the chimney and distance to combustible materials was no longer an issue.

This tale is one of those ways to satisfy requirements.  Was it the best one?  Does anyone else have any examples of how to deal with such problems?

If we share them it may help others – people still want to keep warm, and finding ways to live in their homes whilst meeting the regulations and keeping safe is a priority for all.  The more work which is done on the causes of thatch fires should also assist in dealing with the relevant building regulations and their interpretation for thatched properties.  Let’s watch this space.

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Calling all Chimney Sweeps


The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps are holding more thatch chimney sweeping courses in 2016, open to all.
Click here for more information.

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New at the TAC

Well, we have been so busy with enquiries that not so many planned new pages have been completed but, on the plus side, we have really been expanding our thatch community:

We are proud to have been spreading the fire safety message on the radio, especially as we have been working with the Fire Services on spreading the #ChimneyFireSafetyWeek  campaign via Social media to  ‘Sweep those chimneys’.

These items can be found in the Articles and News section on the website.

To help you find things better we have sorted this section into categories so you can either look at the whole list in date order or sort it out so you can just look at Newsletters or Thatch Thursday posts!

We expect to have more pages added or updated to our website over the Winter months, its just a matter of time.

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The Thatch Directory

Reminder for our Newsletter readers

Our specialist advertiser numbers continue to grow.

As a newletter subscriber, please make sure you and your favorite specialists take advantage of the promotional codes available.

Get in touch for more information.

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Specialist Spotlight

Billin673c3739-9dea-40e7-bb57-da846f575d51-300x300g Chimney and Flue Systems Ltd

The Thatch Advice Centre have known Billings Chimneys for many years.

They are a family run company who have been established for over 35 years, they have a really excellent reputation and are proven specialists.

We know they are proud of their workmanship as professionals who are HETAS registered.  They also provide many other services from CCTV surveys (which we know are very important) to sweeping, construction, maintenance and installation of stoves.

When we told Billing Chimneys about the Thatch Directory they were very enthusiastic as they understood how well their service would fit into our plans and their advert was soon created, which explains far more than we can in this short spotlight.

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Your Stories

The problems of satisfying homeowner, thatcher, insurance, building regulation and listed building departments in building or maintaining thatched properties is an intricate and tricky one.

We know from our experiences that there is often a conflict of interests or situation to resolve. It will take understanding, knowledge, experience and often ‘thinking outside the box’ but good solutions are often found.

Tell us about yours, so we can share it with others and reduce the ‘reinventing the wheel’ should the same situation arise for another thatched homeowner.

We know a lot but there is always more to learn and understand.

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Our Next Newsletter

Our Next Newsletter :-

Update on Historic England work
Are you underinsured?
Chimney height
Facebook Friend
Thatched Tale
Famous Thatch
and more …

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Thatch Directory Categories – Phase I

Our site has one clear list of categories so it is easy to find help. We are looking for proven services to join us. References are required.

Anything you want to share with us?

Thank you to everyone who has already contributed with lovely pictures, renovations and stories.

If you have any interesting or lovely pictures, a story or even ideas, we would love to hear from you.

The best way is to contact us via email or,  just give us a ring on 02380 428058

·  Architects
·  Builders
·  Building Surveyors
·  Chimney & Flue Specialists
·  Chimney Sweeps
·  Electrical Engineers
·  Fire Safety Products & Supplies
·  Garden Buildings
·  Health and Safety
·  Insurance
·  Leadworkers
·  Master Thatchers
·  Organisations/Publications
·  Preservation & Pest Control

·  Quantity Surveyors
·  Reed & Straw Dealers
·  Scaffolding
·  Security
·  Solicitors
·  Solid Fuel & Heating Supplies
·  Specialist Builders
·  Specialist Building Materials
·  Structural Surveyors
·  Thatched Hospitality
·  Thatching Supplies
·  Timber Framed Builders
·  Tools & Equipment Hire
·  Tree Surgeons

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