Thatch problems – shared


There are a few thatch problems which have been brought to our attention recently which are of concern, so we thought we would just let everyone know what’s been going on.

Proud of how we help people with their problems

Recent events have led the Thatch Advice Centre to be proud of what we do, for free, for the good of thatching and thatched properties now and for the future. The fact that we have been contacted, involved, and have concerns means that we know what is going on and what thatch problems need to be addressed, appropriately.

There is time for change in many things – to move forward with thatch as an insulating, sustainable and beautiful roofing material we must understand its benefits and disadvantages and make informed choices on how we live with it. It has survived the test of time and has evolved, and will continue to do so – with or without interventions from those who understand, or do not understand how to make it work best.

We love thatch and will continue to put pressure on those for change where change is needed, before it is too late. Our growing thatch community is testament to our passion and resolve so we will continue keeping you informed of progress via Social Media, Newsletters and, of course, our website.  Exciting and exasperating times!

For those who want to know more about our concerns and the thatched problems, read on..

  • Dealing with problems appropriately
  • Monitoring the good and the bad
  • Responsibility
  • Playing with Fire
  • Lack of..
  • The worth of a True Master Thatcher
  • Moving Forward

Dealing with thatch problems appropriately?

We all expect those in apparent positions of power or authority to act in our best interests, do the right thing based on fact and correctness and be working for the best for the thatch community and not for personal gain. Expectations of telling the truth and promoting the most current information that they have at their disposal, in a timely manner. The Thatch Advice Centre has been working (for free) for the good of thatch now and for the future and seem to be spending far too much time helping with problems which should have been resolved by others.

Monitoring the good and the bad

We did not expect to have to monitor what is going on in the thatching world at such a level, doing our best to impart good information and then to start having to investigate, bringing to the attention of those in higher positions, solve and put pressure on those who are not doing their ‘jobs’.

With all trades there are things which can go wrong but the why and how are important and we have been contacted by a lot of people recently which has led us to wonder – what is going on??? We have a very good idea …..

Naming and shaming is not the way to go…. But how best to resolve it and who can we ask to assist who is doing it just for the good of thatch….? Are we the only ones not scared to rock the boat when it needs rocking?

Thatcher, thatching, materials, listed buildings, chimneys, building regulations, insurance, guidance – who would have thought that there was so much going on. New build and old there are important considerations which we have been helping people understand to work toward a better future.  Don’t forget all of our hard work in producing and releasing our updated Fire Safety Leaflet (in March 2017).


Furthermore, who is responsible for installations/applications of products and their suitability, the manufacturer, the seller, the property owner, the installer or the department who approved it? Who’s responsible for comments made and reports given, an inspection is one thing but does a survey require a surveyor?

If complaints are made what is done, and by whom and what effects or repercussions does it have, if any?

Playing with Fire

Playing with words like ‘fire’ is unacceptable in our book and confusion of the general public is to be abhorred.

Fire prevention, protection, safety are words which are used with an implication that the person using them has given the best advice possible but is this always the case, is everyone up to date? Make sure what you buy is fit for purpose and that your insurers know exactly what it is, should the worst happen you do not want to find that it not being what you thought affects your insurance cover.

An example:-

A fire barrier and fire resisting barrier are different things. EG a fire resisting fire-board (Dorset Model) means it resists both flames and the heat per the B4 Building Regulation i.e. minimum half hour fire resisting barrier.  It is based on insulation and integrity.  Fire resistance of materials is measured in time.

Quote from Warrington Fire Testing House

“BS 476 part 3 and EN13501-5 are RTF (Reaction to Fire) test standards for roofing products and look into the flammability of the materials on the other hand BS 476 part 20-23 look into the FR (fire resistance) of the system which is the compartmentation ability of the system.

While RTF test will give you rating as a classification (e.g. Broof), FR tests will give you rating in minutes and hours. “

Fire products are measured and tested differently but products placed over rafters under the thatch should, in our opinion, be fire resisting – surely to compartmentalise the burning roof (thatch burns up to 1000 degrees) from the rest of the house. If they are not what is their point?

Make sure you understand what your aim is and if products being sold are appropriate for your requirements, and for your insurers.

Lack of…

Co-operation, communication and #workingtogether is truly exasperating! Surely, it should be inclusive not exclusive?   Good information should be shared, in our opinion, realistic, discussed and improved upon by involving all those with good points to make, to get the best for the future.   The time for them and us is over, stop recycling old stuff and let’s move on, together with one coherent voice.  It has started to improve, but sooo slowly!

We are thatched homeowners, thatchers, groups, builders, authorities and organisations who must surely realise the importance of thatch to this country. A lack of sorting it out needs to be sorted!!

The worth of a True Master Thatcher

Sadly some great thatchers (master thatchers is no longer a term meaning a master) are soon to be retiring and we don’t want to lose their skills, knowledge and understanding. Many of these great craftsmen are specialists in their field and ‘unsung heroes ’.  Maybe they are not on line, or not as busy on the internet or social media as others, but they know their stuff and we welcome their involvement.

Moving forward

Realistic solutions are required for real problems, cost effective and practically achievable, possibly with compromise but sadly too many seem to be jeopardising real progress with old, blinkered or impractical advice, angled towards their own benefit rather than that of what is implied. Cryptic perhaps but if the cap fits…..

To then be copied is flattering?  But please get it right.  Furthermore, we don’t understand why, with such good information and proof available, others can’t work it out for themselves.  Also, we have a plan. Why are people scared of change, if it is based on facts?  Or is it just because change has cost implications?

We like to be improving things, not sorting out problems which should not be happening. That is frustrating, time consuming and of concern, but not totally unexpected as no one else seems to be in our position of talking to, listening to and helping everyone with a main aim of promoting the best for thatch, now an in the future.  So stay in touch, keep communicating and we will continue to do what we do.

In some areas, things have changed and not for the better and we are soon to be adding these important things to our agenda – watch this space you followers!

We didn’t ask to be in the driving seat but until someone has a faster car……!!!

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