You don’t have to travel far to enjoy beautiful buildings here in the UK, and we’re lucky to be blessed with a wide variety of historical stately homes, churches, museums, town halls and more. All buildings need maintenance and repairs from time to time, but this is even more important if the building is centuries old, or of certain cultural significance.
Building restoration covers a range of highly skilled services which restore historic buildings back to their former glory. This type of restoration and refurbishment can be used to revitalise modern buildings too, but it’s likely that they’ll need less attention. Restoration can cover large scale tasks, such as restoring a roof or stonework, through to smaller details like gilding a clock face. If you’d like to know more about building restorations services, what they are, and why they’re so important, then read on to find out more.
What is building restoration?
Historic England’s guide to Conservation Principles and Policies defines building restoration as “returning a building to a known earlier state, on the basis of compelling evidence, without conjecture”. Several factors must be taken into consideration before restoration goes ahead, such as:
If the above questions can be answered in a satisfactory way then the restoration work is deemed acceptable to go ahead. Restoration and repair work often overlap, but this will depend on each individual building and how much work is needed.
Restoration aims to preserve as much of the original building as possible, or in cases where elements are rebuilt, it will strive to use techniques and materials that are as close to the original as possible. Building restoration can be split into reversible and irreversible techniques, but the methods used will depend on how damaged the building is, and whether the interventions can be undone without causing further damage.
Why are buildings restored?
There are many valuable reasons to restore a building, especially one of cultural or historical significance. Building restoration is usually carried out for one or more of the five following reasons:
Building restoration uses a number of techniques to restore a property to its former glory, without interfering with the original design. As mentioned, restoration can incorporate several techniques, including repairs and preservation methods, so read on to find out more.
Over the years, a building’s foundations can be weakened by structural shifts, natural disasters (e.g earthquakes) and material degradation. Preservation methods are there to safeguard a building from any future events which might weaken its structure or cause additional damage.
Preservation techniques include strengthening a building’s facade, making sure foundations are secure and taking steps to protect the building from vandalism such as graffiti.
In many cases, building restoration will also include some repairs and these are often necessary to ensure the preservation of the building as a whole. Repairs might include patching up cracks or gaps in concrete walls, repairing door and window frames, replacing electrical wires, plastering or replacing floor tiles.
In most cases, every effort will be made to use the same materials (or as close as possible) as the original.
This is similar to preservation, but it does not include any decoration or refurbishment. In many ways it doesn’t alter the appearance of a building, instead its purpose is to prevent the further deterioration of a structure. Rehabilitation includes things like shoring up crumbling walls (to prevent total collapse) repairing timber beams or stone columns, or adding tie-rods to arches.
This might involve replacing or repairing a few tiles, or adding an entire new roof to a roofless building. Adding a roof (if there isn’t one) is often deemed necessary to protect the paintwork or other decorative elements within the building. Roof restoration includes cleaning, repairing and repainting roof tiles, as well as adding replacement tiles to patch up holes.
This covers the restoration of brick and stone and the process is often complicated and highly skilled. Masonry work includes restoring the look of the brickwork, removing old mortar, repainting, or replacing missing bricks. Great care is taken to match the new bricks to the old, and use techniques which respect the original construction of the building.
Paintwork can become chipped, faded and oxidized over time due to a number of factors, including air pollution, UV rays and extreme weather conditions. Paint restoration uses techniques to analyse old paint layers and determine their original pigmentation. This can then be used to produce a modern chemical substitute that’s as close to the original as possible. In some cases the recipe will have to be altered to exclude dangerous original materials from the original recipe, such as arsenic or lead.
Paint restoration can be used to restore internal murals, frescoes and wall paintings, or external paintwork which may have been damaged over time.
Strengthening of foundations
As mentioned above, preserving a building might include strengthening its foundations so that it can withstand structural shifts or natural disasters such as earthquakes. Old stone foundations can be restored and strengthened with the addition of concrete blocks and steel rods, but it’s vital to use an expert mason for this type of work.
Restoration work can be split into reversible, or irreversible, categories. In many cases, reversible restoration methods are preferable as they can be replaced with minimal damage to the original building. Reversible restoration techniques are often used to strengthen a building’s structure temporarily, and include:
Rodells - The professional building restoration specialists
If you’re in need of professional building restoration or refurbishment, get in touch with the experts at Rodells. We’re proud to specialise in restoring historical buildings to their former glory and our skilled craftsmen have all the knowledge and expertise required to ensure your buildings look their best.
We also offer church conservation and can apply our expertise to revitalise contemporary or commercial buildings. Our extensive range of services include, detailed surveys of church spires and towers, roof restoration (including lead work), repair and treatment of timber structures, clock works, stonework and weathervane maintenance.
In addition to our restoration work, we can assist you with lightning protection and scaffolding services for the industrial and commercial sectors. For more information or to discuss your next project, give us a call today or visit our website.
What is Scaffolding Safety? And How Does it Impact a Building Project
The main issue in regards to scaffolding safety really comes down to whether or not the scaffold is safe to work on. This indicates that working on scaffolding that has been erected by qualified professionals under the correct supervision of a competent person and that the scaffold has been adequately inspected prior to use. It is also important that each worker is equipped with proper protective equipment and have been thoroughly trained on safe work practices when working on scaffolding.
There are three key things to remember in order to ensure scaffolding safety:
Around 65% of the construction industry work on scaffolding and experiences 4,500 injuries and 60 fatalities. To prevent these staggering statistics from recurring better safety inspections, training and controls are needed.
This blog identifies who are competent and qualified persons as well as the basic Do’s and Don’ts of scaffolding safety, usage of scaffolding, this information can work as a kind of checklists to help you implement safety in your workplace.
While a qualified individual is one who ‘has successfully demonstrated their capability to solve or resolve issues related to the subject matter, the work, or the project.’ A qualified person has the right background such as education or degree in designing safe scaffolding, for example this could be someone from the scaffold manufacturer or trained scaffold engineer.
They are all aware of the fact that fall hazards are the leading cause of construction worker deaths. It is estimated that about 65% of all construction workers perform work on scaffolds annually. That’s a lot of people working on scaffolds potentially being exposed to a number of hazards such as falls, electrocutions and falling objects.
Due to the standards for scaffolding in construction being extremely detailed, we can’t cover all the rules and requirements for every specific type of scaffold and every situation. Rather than this, we’ve made a general list of do’s and don’ts for scaffold safety in construction, as follows:
Rodells - Quality Scaffolding Services
Here at Rodells we have a talented, reliable and safe scaffolding workforce. We have a history of providing excellent quality, reliable scaffolding in the commercial and industrial sectors. Whatever your needs are, our team of trained scaffolders can help. As an accredited member of NASC, our workforce is highly trained, has a great code of conduct and adhere to the regulations set out in the industry such as the TG20/SG410. We have a history of providing excellent quality, reliable scaffolding in the commercial and industrial sectors. Whatever your needs are, our team of trained scaffolders can help. Rodells continues its tradition of investing in both staff training and equipment.
The Company maintains it’s skills in lightning protection and special access works, including traditional steeplejacking, Church conservation and industrial rope access.Rodells is a well-known Scaffolding and Specialist works company that has been trading since 1898. We continue to always provide a professional and proactive service that meets and exceeds the growing standards in the construction industry. We are committed to lowering our environmental impact, investing and supporting the local communities and to meeting all up to date regulations. Drop us a line, explore our website or get in touch today to see if we can fulfil your scaffolding needs. You can call us on 01727 82101, we’d be happy to help!
The right maintenance is vital if we want to preserve our buildings, whether it’s a modern high-rise office block or a centuries-old church. Building maintenance can take many forms, from interior cleaning, to plumbing repairs, fixing holes in roofs, maintaining doors and windows or cleaning sewage lines.
One vital aspect of building maintenance is the services provided by a steeplejack, a craftsman who specialises in the maintenance and repair of a building’s tallest points. If you’d like to know more about what a steeplejack is and the types of services they provide, read on to find out more.
What is a steeplejack?
A steeplejack is a tradesman who scales buildings, chimneys and church steeples to carry out maintenance and repairs on the high points of these structures. They work on a variety of building parts, including clock towers, industrial chimneys, bell towers, and church spires.
There are two main routes to take for those wanting to become a steeplejack; you can either gain experience on the job by working for a steeplejack company and train towards gaining NVQs, or take a formal route through the Construction Industry Training Board.
What do they do?
As mentioned, steeplejacks provide a number of maintenance and repair services for the high points of buildings. They may also be called upon occasionally for additional work, including masonry repair, brickwork, carpentry, painting and roof repair.
Specific services include:
Steeplejacks are highly skilled workers that are trained to erect ropes and ladders to gain access to high and hard to reach areas. Many of these would not be accessible using scaffolding, so steeplejacking is a highly niche technique which can require years of specialised training.
If you’re looking for professional steeplejack services, get in touch with the team at Rodells. With over 100 years of experience, we’re proud to offer expert steeplejack services, including brickwork, cladding repairs, ultrasonic testing, high rise building maintenance, and more. We can also provide a range of additional services for your buildings, including church conservation, lightning protection and scaffolding services. For more information about any of the above, give us a call today or visit our website.
Construction is one of the defining trades of human-kind. Over thousands of years, we have grown from nomadic people to city-dwellers and innovators. These developments are, in no small part, down to our prowess in construction. Over the years, the buildings we have created have become cornerstones for the rest of our lives and society.
Without forward-thinking construction projects, our culture, science and social cohesion would look significantly different from how it looks today. Whether buildings were erected as monuments to gods or for practical reasons - like public baths or political buildings - they have shaped the way we live.
Today, buildings are bigger, more technical, safer and more impressive. However, many construction projects from over the years have proven to be more significant. Here, we take a look at eight of the most important and impressive construction projects in history.
StonehengeStonehenge is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, let alone Britain! The monument is shrouded in mystery, however, archaeologists believe that is was built around 5,000 years ago - many thousands of years before recorded history in the UK.
No one is quite sure why the stones were built. Some believe that it was built as a temple for the druids and others believe that it was meant as a prehistoric calendar. Modern-day druids still travel to Stonehenge as a pilgrimage destination today.
This monument is so impressive because each stone weighs up to four tons. For a prehistoric society with little in the way of lifting technology, moving these stones would have been a mammoth task. The presumption is that these stones were lifted and carried using ropes and sledges. The rocks were quarried from Pembrokeshire in Wales, meaning they were carried 180 miles to their destination!
The ColosseumRome’s most famous historic site is almost certainly the Colosseum. This structure was built in celebration of military victories and could host tens of thousands of spectators for gladiatorial games and ceremonies.
Construction of this gargantuan building commenced around 70 AD and took around a decade to build. The very first games commenced around 81 AD, with thousands of animals being slaughtered during the inaugural game. These games were a show of power from prominent families and were very popular amongst Roman citizens. Although the Colosseum is nearly 2,000 years old, it remains a very popular tourist attraction and still stands today.
The Great Pyramid of GizaIt’s impossible to talk or even think about the Ancient Egyptians without a mention of the Great Pyramid of Giza. This astonishing structure remained the tallest building on Earth for 3,800 years until the construction of Lincoln Cathedral in 1311.
The Pyramid is located just outside of Cairo and is the only remaining structure from the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World. The structure was built across 20 years, between 2560 BC and 2540 BC. Most archaeologists believe that this pyramid was built as a burial ground for the Pharaohs who ruled Ancient Egypt.
One of the most impressive feats of the engineering of the Great Pyramid of Giza is how geometrically accurate it is. Although the construction techniques during this period were rudimentary, the structure is mathematically precise.
The ParthenonLocated in Athens, and one of Greece’s most famous landmarks, The Parthenon was a tribute to the Greek goddess Athena. Built during the 5th century BC on the Acropolis Hill, The Parthenon has become an iconic piece of Ancient Greek architecture.
Much of Rome’s own architecture owes a lot to Greece’s Parthenon. Considering that much of the population of the world were still existing as nomads during the period of The Parthenon’s construction, this feat is astonishing. The building serves as a reminder of the ingenuity of humankind.
The Great Wall of ChinaStretching across China for more than 5,000 miles, The Great Wall of China is truly one of the most impressive structures ever conceived or built. The Great Wall remains one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, with the construction taking centuries to complete. The initial construction started 2,000 years ago and was still being built throughout the 16th century.
Some people believe that as many as 3 million people lost their lives during the construction of this great monument. The wall was built as a fortification against invasion from Mongolians, but it was also a show of the strength of China during that period. Even today, no other building has matched the Great Wall of China in length.
PetraPetra is a world-famous archaeological site located in Jordan’s southwestern desert. It’s the nation’s most-visited tourist destination and for good reason. This beautiful site is an ancient city built into a rock-face.
The facade of Petra is 100 feet wide and more than 141 feet high and was constructed in the 4th century BC by an ancient Arabian civilization known as the Nabataeans. Only around 15% of Petra has currently been explored and discovered, so there’s still a huge amount to see. It’s known that there are around 800 tombs located throughout the ‘Lost City’ and that there was a water system built into the city which could have supported around 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants.
York CathedralYork Cathedral is one of the most famous medieval cathedrals in the UK and across the world. Taking more than 250 years to build, the structure is North Europe’s largest gothic cathedral, looming over the city of York.
Even before the construction of York Cathedral, the location of the site had great significance. During the Roman Empire, York had been a crucial stronghold for the empire. It’s believed that, during that time, a Roman basilica was erected where the cathedral now stands.
York cathedral is more than 520 feet in length, 249 feet in width and 88.5 feet high.
Panama CanalThe Panama Canal is, undoubtedly, one of the most impressive feats of engineering and construction in human history. The canal connects the pacific and Atlantic oceans across 48 miles which plays an essential role in global maritime trade.
Construction of this canal started more than 100 years ago and was completed in around 1914. This canal allowed ships travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans far more safely and in more than half of the time. Rather than having to travel south below the tip of Argentina, ships could go straight through the canal. This canal saves literally thousands of miles worth of travel for maritime traders. The Panama Canal has subsequently been named as one of the Seven Wonders of The Modern World.
Rodells: Commercial Scaffolding For Your Next Construction ProjectHere at Rodells Ltd, we’re experts when it comes to commercial scaffolding and lighting protection for construction projects. With over one hundred years of experience under our belts, we’re able to provide professional service regardless of the project you require.
Originally operating as a steeple-jacking organisation, we’ve expanded into a wide range of disciplines. However, we remain able to provide steeple-jacking services to a number of our clients. Our large scaffold department allows us to work on projects for any domestic, commercial or industrial building.
As a business, we always endeavour to provide the very best service for all of our clients. All of our highly trained in health and safety so you can rest assured your project will be completed safely. We have a long-standing reputation for providing excellent services to every customer and would love to hear from you to see how we can help your business.
To find out more about our services, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at Cell Barnes House, Cell Barnes Lane, St Albans, Herts, AL1 5AS. Alternatively, call us on 01727 841855 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lightning protection for historical properties is essential. This is very important for the purpose of protecting and preserving the heritage of a period property. Nevertheless, historical buildings aren't locations which were created with lightning protection as a key priority, so it’s crucial that the appearance of the system doesn’t appear out of character or intrusive. The materials used have to do a reliable job, while not affecting the historical appearance of the building. Installing a lightning conductor to any historic building requires a qualified contractor, who understands the importance of the nature of the construction and installs the system sympathetically.
With this in mind in this blog, we discuss with you, the implications of lighting protection for historic buildings relating to what you need to know. Read on to find out more!
Where to begin?
Historic England recommends that lightning protection should be used for all churches, tall or prominent historical structures. However there is not a specific system in place that gives full protection, and the significance of a building requires to be balanced against an acceptable amount of protection. Historic England’s recommended guidelines are:
This guidance offers advice on the design, installation and maintenance of lightning protection systems for architects, surveyors, engineers and others involved in the care and safeguarding of historic buildings or period properties. Lightning protection is specialist work and requires quality design and installation.
An 8mm circular copper conductor is often used on historic buildings. This can be sheathed with coloured PVC so that it doesn’t look out of place in the surroundings of the building. The aim is to make the conductor appear to be part of the building, instead of contrasting with it. It is also essential that the conductors are put in place to decrease visual impact. It is a possibility for a lightning protection system to be put in place sympathetically, while still adhering to the relevant safety standards. A thorough system can be made by placing the conductors out of sight behind buttresses, leaving the buildings aesthetic appearance undamaged.
The air termination is able to be hidden out of place behind parapet walls and the down conductors can be placed behind pinnacles, they should be put in place to follow the lines of the building. They don’t need to be dressed into each contour or crack of the stone on rubble or pitch-faced stonework, as this can make a poor aesthetic finish.
The building’s main features can cover the visual effects of the conductor. Moreover, it is effective to shadow a strong feature on a tower or spire by following a stone quoin, as the eye tends to hone in on the more prominent features – not realising a conductor placed next to it.
Putting a lightning conductor in place on any historic building will need a qualified contractor, who understands the importance of the nature of the construction and installs the system properly.
The spires and towers of historic churches and other tall buildings are frequently targets for lightning strikes. Although lightning protection isn’t not a legal requirement, insurance companies will likely require churches and prominent historic buildings to have lightning and surge protection. This following information provides advice on the design of new or improved lightning protection and surge protection systems:
Lightning damage and thunderstorms and lightning frequently occur when the weather is warmer and more humid. In England thunderstorms are likely to occur in the East Midlands and South East areas. Climate change research indicates that the number and power of lightning storms are more likely to increase over this century in the British Isles. What’s more, lightning strikes are more likely to become common in the future, lightning is a very high current discharge. It can happen between or within highly charged clouds or from a cloud to earth. These discharges can range from about 10 million to 100 million volts.
Lightning strikes to earth usually seek out the path with the most little resistance. This will be the highest point in a landscape, such as the top of a mountain, a tree, or a spire or tower. Since lots of historic churches and similar buildings have spires and towers, they can often be prone to lightning strikes although this is unpredictable where lightning will actually hit. If the discharge is uncontrolled or not discharged safely, there is a risk to the structure and its contents.
Most direct damage caused by lightning is usually small. The weakening of copings, pinnacles and roof tiles, for instance. However, even smaller damage can be costly to repair if high-level access is required. Moreover, masonry damaged by lightning can sometimes fall, posing a significant danger to people. There is some evidence that lightning damage is more extensive on towers or spires where the masonry or jointing is in poor condition. The damage might be caused by the sonic boom effect created by the rapid vaporisation of the moisture in the air. This stresses the need for regular building maintenance and repair. The possibility of fire from a direct lightning strike is low. Most recorded cases of church fires begun by lightning are from the Victoria era. These fires are usually caused when the strike melted lead pipes and ignited the escaping gas. With the advent of electric lighting, this risk was significantly decreased.
Lightning strikes make voltage surges, which in turn can cause an electrical system to break down, malfunction, or even a complete burn out of wiring and equipment. The more vulnerable items are alarms, boiler controls, sound reproduction systems, computers, telephones and electronic organs and so on. Around 60% of insurance claims for lightning damage to historical buildings are for damage to electrical wiring and equipment. The damage may be more common than structural damage, it is essential to realise that it is far less costly. Repairing structural damage is on average three times more expensive.
Risk assessment for lighting protection
Risk assessment is something that is essential for safe lighting installation. Prior to installation or getting a lighting system installed, a fully qualified installer will need to carry out a full risk assessment. This will involve a lengthy process which involved working out a few calculations with computer software being necessary. Owners of the property of custodians are the individuals who are required to to help collate as much of the information as possible. This will in turn make the process much easier and also help assessors in determining the necessary level of protection required.
The engineer will need a couple of pieces of information which will include:
Here at Rodells we’ve been installing and maintaining Lightning Protection Systems within Commercial, Historic and Ecclesiatical buildings going back since the 19th Century. You might not realise it but a great deal of businesses require their buildings to be protected against lightning. You may not necessarily be required to install a lightning protection system, but it is certainly worth getting in touch with our professionals for a thorough risk assessment, this is due to the fact that strikes can cause damage to equipment, power surges and system failures, which can lead to injuries and business downtime. To find out more, please get in touch with us or visit our website.
Did you know that lightning strikes are becoming more frequent? Climate change and increased use of electrical technology mean lightning strikes are becoming an increasing concern to tall buildings and exposed structures.
Electricity gradually builds up during a thunderstorm and once it has enough energy, a giant spark occurs (like static electricity) this can happen between clouds and air, and often it is routed through the ground in the form of a lightning strike.
What is Lightning Protection?
Lightning looks for the quickest route to the ground, and often this can mean it strikes buildings in its hunt for the path of least resistance. This can pose serious danger if the spark occurs near exposed gas or electricity infrastructure.
Many tall buildings; such as churches and skyscrapers, have lightning protection conductors installed, to avoid significant damage and danger should a lightning strike occur.
Lightning conductors are not usually installed on homes, as the likelihood of lightning striking houses is relatively low, but it can happen. If your home is exposed or in an area that frequently experiences thunder and lightning storms however, it could be worthwhile investing in lightning protection to avoid any damage.
How Does It Work?
Lightning conductors (also known as lightning arrestor’s, lightning diverters, lightning rods or cables.) are a type of Lightning Protection System. Lightning conductors and special earthing equipment ensure that electrical currents are routed to the ground via a path of least resistance, thereby preventing damage to the building.
Usually made out of conductive materials such as copper and aluminium, lightning protection systems are usually installed on the outside of a building or structure to help prevent power surges.
Lightning protection cables and equipment will need to be replaced every so often, depending on the amount of wear and tear placed on them over time.
Lightning Protection Law In The UK
Lightning causes millions of pounds worth of damage and hundreds of injuries across the world each year, both as a direct result of lightning strikes and from the resulting electrical surges.
Compliance with UK legislation requires that a risk assessment be carried out on the premises first of all (in accordance with BS6651 and BSEN:62305).
The risk assessment is a visual inspection and helps to determine the likelihood of lightning striking a building, and the potential dangers this poses. The building is then given a category depending on how high the risk of hazard is to life and the potential damage to physical structures.
Lightning Protection Systems have different categories depending on the type of building they are due to be installed on. The Lightning Protection System on a building must be the same grade as the Lightning Protection Level. For example, if the threat level is one, the lightning protection system must be 1 or higher to be within the legal requirements.
The potential thermal and explosive effects of a building are taken into consideration in both internal and external Lightning Protection Systems. An external system must have all three requirements: an air termination system, a down conductor system and an earth termination system in accordance with BS EN/IEC 62305 codes.
Penalties For Non-Compliance
Although it is not a legal requirement for all buildings and structures to have lightning protection, it is mandatory to have a risk assessment done annually to ensure that all LP systems meet statutory compliance. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 apply to businesses in the UK, and Lightning Protection Systems that do no meet the current standard pose a serious risk of injury and potential loss of life.
Structures Most Likely to Be Struck by Lightning
Parts of a structure most likely to be struck by lightning are those that protrude from the surrounding structure.
Some examples of common structures likely to be struck by lightning:
●Elevated Water Tanks;
●Radio, Television, Mobile Phone and Microwave masts.
How Does Lightning Testing Work?
Your lightning protection system should be tested no more than 12 months apart. However, it is highly recommended that your system is tested throughout the year to ensure it can withstand the elements of all seasons.
A properly maintained lightning system will last for many years and will ensure your building is protected from lightning strikes and the consequent power surges.
What Do Lightning Tests Or Recommendations Involve?
●Inspection of current lightning conductors including joints and parts of the system
●Continuity testing across the whole lightning protection system
●Earth resistance testing on individual electrodes and the complete system
●Reports on the condition of the system
●Recommendations of required repairs, with reliable estimates included
A lightning protection test is a great opportunity to understand if your building is at risk to lightning, or if your lightning protection system requires servicing and maintenance to be deemed safe and in good working condition.
Lightning Damage Insurance
Although lightning striking houses and phone lines is quite rare, it definitely happens. Insurance policies can vary depending on the company and level of cover you have.
Most insurance providers do include damage caused to property and possessions by lightning in their policy, but it is certainly worth looking into it to be absolutely sure.
Many lightning protection companies offer insurance and warranty on lightning protection systems, so it is worth checking whether this is included when deciding on a company to install lightning protection on your building.
How To Protect Your Home From Lightning Damage
lightning strikes your house or nearby power lines, it can follow the wiring or phone lines and cause a power surge to the circuits in your home. This can ruin TV’s, stereos and anything else plugged into the mains. To avoid your gadgets being “fried” by lightning, unplug them during a thunderstorm and disconnect internet, antenna and satellite-dish connections, even if they are grounded.
Invest In Surge Protectors
These are electrical devices which you plug your appliances. These are very low cost, considering the possible impact of lightning damage is potentially hundreds of pounds. Surge protectors are most effective for indirect lightning strikes (such as to powerlines and the electrical grid) but in serious cases where lightning directly strikes a building which is far more drastic and dangerous, surge protection is not likely to be of much use.
Myths Around Lightning Protection
Do Lightning Protection Systems Attract Lightning?
Many people think lightning protection systems attract lightning. This is simply not the case. A lightning protection system doesn’t attract lightning or dilute the power of a storm, nor does it act as a building surge protector that means all electronics will be protected. It works to protect the building from fire or serious structural damage in the event it is struck by lightning.
Lightning Can’t Strike The Same Place Twice
This is another myth surrounding lightning that is untrue. Thunder and lightning storms usually travel through an area quickly, and once it has struck one place the likelihood of it striking again is lower, but it is certainly still a possibility. Exposed objects that are effective electrical conductors are usually prime targets for lightning to strike twice, as they provide the path of least resistance for lightning to reach the earth.
You Are Safer Outdoors
This is also incorrect. During a lightning storm, you are not safe anywhere outdoors. Ensure you get under a substantial building or hard-topped vehicle. Avoid touching anything electronic plugged into the mains and certainly avoid roofs!
If you need reliable lightning protection for commercial, domestic or any other type of building, get in touch with Rodell’s today. We have a wealth of industry experience offering lightning protection services; including design, testing and inspection. We have provided safe and reliable lightning protection to schools, churches, colleges, commercial, domestic buildings and many more, so no matter what building type, we can help plan a solution that works for you.
Here in the UK, we’re blessed with relatively calm weather. However, while we might not be subjected to hurricanes or tornadoes, we do get our fair share of electrical storms. On average, the UK and its surrounding waters are hit by around 300,000 lightning strikes every year, and while these powerful displays of nature are stunning to watch, they also pose significant risk to both people and structures.
While the dangers of being struck by lightning are exceedingly low, buildings can be put at risk, which can also endanger those inside. With this in mind, you may be wondering what your responsibilities are when it comes to protecting your premises against the threat of a lightning strike. As lightning protection experts, we at Rodell’s decided to demystify the process and give you the lowdown on what you need to do.
Complying with the law
As a country with a much lower risk of lightning strikes in comparison to other countries around the world, the UK doesn’t actually have laws specifying lightning protection all for buildings and structures. However, what it does have is a set of rules under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 that applies to businesses.
Specifically focusing on BS EN/IEC 62305, businesses are required to ensure that electrical installations and the business premises itself are protected from lightning strikes.
What is required?
Under the regulations, there are four ‘lightning protection levels’ known as LPLs. These LPLs focus on the protection of four different aspects of a business, ranging from S1 to S4. S1 focuses on protecting strikes to the structure itself, S2 for strikes near the structure, and S3 and S4 are focused more around services connected to the main structure, such as warehouses and parking spaces.
In order to remain compliant with BS EN/IEC 62305, a company must have an inspection carried out by a licenced professional and invest in lightning mitigation installations such as surge protection to keep your electronic equipment safe and lightning rods to ground your building.
What are the penalties?
As lightning protection falls under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, it is essential to ensure that you remain on the right side of the law. If you are found to be ignoring these regulations or if someone is injured due to your business not having adequate protection, you could find yourself in extremely hot legal hot water. With this in mind, it’s essential to make sure you’re compliant.
Protect your business from lightning strikes with Rodell’s
Lightning strikes are powerful yet dangerous displays of nature, which is why you should ensure your business is properly protected. As suppliers of quality lightning protection solutions, from lightning rods to comprehensive inspections, our team will ensure you’re compliant to regulations.
For more information, visit our website or get in touch with our team on 01727 841855.
This Hertfordshire city is only 20 minutes from the bustling hub of London, but it has a wealth of history and charm all of its own. There are plenty of stunning buildings to visit, from the city’s ancient cathedral to the famous clock tower. If you'd like to know more about just four of the beautiful buildings to be found in St Albans, see our brief guide below.
St Albans Cathedral
This cathedral is a shrine to Britain's first Saint, and it's the oldest site of Christian worship in Britain, too. Often referred to locally as ‘the Abbey’, the cathedral began to be built all the way back in 1077. Nowadays, the cathedral still plays host to a wide variety of events, including talks, concerts and educational courses.
The clock tower is actually a Grade I listed belfry, constructed all the way back in 1403. It's thought to be the only remaining medieval town belfry left in England and it was originally constructed as a protest against the power of the abbey. The clock tower bell was rung to announce the first Battle of St Albans during the Wars of the Roses in 1455.
Built in 1140, this ancient building is also referred to as the Sopwell Nunnery. The ruins visible today are actually from a mansion belonging to an advisor of Henry VIII, but the area is still referred to as Sopwell Priory. It's a popular spot for a picnic during the warmer months and is close to several picturesque walking trails.
Redbournbury Watermill and Bakery
This Grade II listed eighteenth-century building is still a working Watermill museum and bakery today. The mill produces organic stoneground flour and handmade loaves are produced in the bakery for visitors to purchase. The mill is also a World Heritage Site and is one of St Albans’ most popular attractions.
Here at Rodells Ltd, we believe in the importance of keeping the buildings of St Albans in tiptop condition. With over 100 years experience in the business, we’re proud to offer scaffolding services, lightning protection and specialist works and have provided many of these services to St Albans buildings. For more information about any of our building services, give us a call today or visit our website.
Earth rods are essentially used as their fittings provide the interface to ground in all soil conditions in order to achieve a quality earthing systems in the overhead and underground electricity distribution and transmission networks, this provides high fault current capacity on low, medium and high voltage substations, towers and power distribution applications.
Convenient to install where the subsoil condition is free from rock and boulders the earth rod or group of copper rods can be surrounded or backfilled using a low resistance material such as Bentonite. With this in mind, here in this blog we will outline to you a brief guide to earth rods detailing what you need to know.
Why are earth rods so useful?
Dependant on the corrosive condition and electrical conductivity of the ground condition the earth rod can be specified to allow you safe, consistent and long term earthing protection, the mechanical strength of the rod has to withstand the abrasion and stress endured while installing with an electric or pneumatic driving rod hammer; the head of the earth rod should not ‘mushroom’ or spread outwards when driven. Earth rods are extendable in their design and used with copper couplers to connect several rods to achieve the necessary driving depth - the rod couplers provide permanent electrical conductivity and the longer copper earth rods access lower resistivity soils at lower depths.
Vertically driven earth rods tend to be the most effective electrode for usage in typically smaller areas of substations or when low soil resistivity ground conditions, into which the rod can where the rod can penetrate, lies underneath a layer of high soil resistivity.
Earth Rods Diameter v Length
A frequently made misconception is that there is a direct and clear correlation between the diameter of the earth rod used and the effect on lowering earth resistance readings, this however is false.
The resistance value is only decreased by 9.5% by doubling the diameter of the rod, which means increasing the weight and the cost of the rod by approximately 400%. Thus the logic is: use the most economical earth rod that soil conditions will permit the installer to drive.
The general rule of thumb seems to be doubling the radius of the earth rod will reduce resistance by approximately 10% and is not a cost-effective option. Doubling the rod length, however, will theoretically reduces resistance by 40%.
Additional driven earth rods are placed together and connected, they should be separated from each other and from any adjacent cables by a distance not less than the depth to which they are driven. On top of this, earth rods should be connected using copper tape or bare copper cable of the same cross-sectional area as the earth electrode conductor. The additional electrodes should be placed so that any necessary separation of the LV and HV earth electrode systems is maintained.
Copper bonded steel core earth rods are the highest specified due to electrical and mechanical strength, resistance to corrosion as comparatively lower cost compared to solid copper or stainless steel types – the lowest cost galvanised rods for usually installed non-critical, short-term or temporary earthing needs.
Installation of earth rods
Earth rod electrodes are installed during the civil engineering works associated with substation construction – soil resistivity readings are taken and if “greater than 200m, basically, vertical earth rods are installed to reduce resistance. Note consult local UK DNO or utility recommendations which vary according to engineering standards and preferences.
Safe working practices recommend when driving earth rods all necessary steps should be taken to ensure that rods are not driven into any buried services below cable trench level such as gas, telephone, water or electricity cables. Contractors should consult the appropriate utilities’ records and the use of approved instruments for the detection of buried services may also be necessary - this is especially important when rods are installed after the completion of cable pulling and laying.
Change of earth rod diameter has marginal impact on the overall value of resistance with the size determined by the mechanical and structural strength of the rod to withstand being mechanically driven when deep earth rods are required e.g. to depths of 20 metres or more.
Driving copper earth rods is often conducted in more built-up urban locations and the method should be used with care, caution and implemented measures to prevent accidental damage to buried utility services, such as 11kV/33kV high voltage cables. The rods are driven vertically into the ground and earth resistance is measured as each section is installed.
Installing a ground rod will redirect current from any electrical circuit you may have into the ground where it is located. It is crucial for any home to prevent a small short circuit from turning into an electrical fire. In the event your electrical systems malfunction, the grounding rod will vanish all the released current away from your property and down into the ground.
Why do earthing and bonding need to be checked?
If you are having an alteration of addition made to your electrical installation, your electrician must check (as well as other things) that the earthing and bonding arrangements you have are up to the required standard.
This is because the safety of any new work you have done (however small) will depend on the earthing and bonding arrangements.
What is earthing?
If there happens to be a fault in your electrical installation you could very easily get an electric shock if you touch a live metal section of it. This is because the electricity may use your body as a path from the live part to the earth part.
Earthing is used to protect you from any kind of electric shock. It does this by providing a path, essentially a protective conductor for a fault current to flow to earth. It also causes the protective device either a circuit-breaker or fuse to switch off the electric current to the circuit that has the fault.
An example of this being, if a cooker has a fault, the fault current flows to earth through the protective (earthing) conductors. A protective device (fuse or circuit-breaker) in the consumer unit switches off the electrical supply to the cooker. The cooker is now safe from causing an electric shock to anyone who touches it.
What is bonding?
Bonding is used to reduce the risk of electric shocks to anyone who may touch two separate metal parts when there is a fault somewhere in the supply of electrical installation. By connecting bonding conductors between particular parts, it decreases the voltage there might have been.
If you are considering installing earth rods for your property, Rodells can help. We have been in operation for well over a century, meaning you can feel confident that we have a wealth of knowledge regarding the latest and most reliable earthing and lightning protection systems. Over the years, our highly experienced and fully qualified engineers have completed testing, repair work and new installations for a wide variety of organisations and on structures of all shapes and sizes, including homes, high-rise flats, schools, churches and commercial buildings.
By installing a new building earthing system or repairing your current one, you can comply with the BSEN:62305, keep your employees or family members safe and protect your electrical assets. Whether you need routine testing or a new installation, there’s no better company to call than Rodells. Contact us on 01727 841855 to book a consultation and obtain a quote.
Lightning is unusual at the very best of times and has been the subject of much investigation by scientists over the centuries. It’s also been the basis for a number of religious myth and cultural tradition. However, no matter how awe-inspiring lightning can be, it seems to always throw up more surprises; here are just a few.
Lightning Partially Cured Blindness
Absolutely astonishingly, lightning is credited with partially curing a man of his blindness! This bizarre story is centred around a man named Edwin Robinson; a 62-year-old living in Maine in 1980 who had lost his eyesight in a car accident nearly a decade before and found that he had regained some of his eyesight after being struck. He may have been unlucky to be struck at all, but he was particularly lucky to have this outcome.
‘Bolts From The Blue’
You may have heard of the phrase a ‘bolt from the blue’ and been wondering where it comes from. A bolt from the blue is a lightning bolt which comes from a storm many miles away so that it seems as though it has come from nowhere. These are very rare but, nonetheless, there have been reports of people and buildings being struck on what seemed like a perfectly clear day.
The Man Who Survived Seven Strikes
Roy Sullivan was a park ranger in the Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA and was struck by lightning a staggering seven times. Even more astounding, however, is that he survived them all and died in totally unrelated circumstances sometime later. Between 1942 and 1977, Roy was struck seven times making him statistically one of the world’s most unlucky people.
Lightning Protection From Rodells Ltd
Here at Rodells Ltd, we’ve been providing a wide range of services to countless clients for over a century. We can provide reliable lightning protection services to a broad variety of organisations across the country. Whether you own a property in the private sector or the local school, church or college needs to be protected from lightning, look no further than Rodells.
To find out more, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at Cell Barnes House, Cell Barnes Lane, St Albans, Herts, AL1 5AS, call us on 01727 841855 or email us at email@example.com.