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.
Lightning is awe-inspiring, but it can also be very dangerous. Here we describe some of the most devastating accidents caused by lightning.
Brescia, ItalyBack in the year 1769, the town of Brescia in Italy suffered from a terrible accident caused by lightning. In the vaults of the Church of the Nazaire in the town, nearly 94 tons of gunpowder was being stored when lightning struck. Travelling through the building to the vault, the ensuing explosion killed 3,000 people and destroyed around a sixth of the city. The destruction of the accident meant that much more effort was made to ensure gunpowder was stored safely and securely in the future.
Pan American Flight To PhiladelphiaOne of the world’s worst lightning-related death-toll happened in 1963 when a Boeing 707 was struck by lightning as it travelled from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia. Tragically killing all 81 people on board, the aeroplane exploded in mid-air during the flight as the lightning hit a reserve fuel tank. The intense heat melted the rivets in the structure and fused materials together. This tragedy created a need for all airliners to be fitted with lightning discharge wicks.
Yellowstone FiresIn 1988, one of the very largest fires in the history of Yellowstone spread across the park and affected more than a third of it. This caused mass-evacuations and - to this day - hikers are still advised to watch out for the potential of falling trees which were damaged in the fire. The fire was started via a mixture of very dry weather, high winds and a number of lightning strikes.
Rodells Ltd: A Century of ExperienceIf you require scaffolding services or lightning protection services across England, look no further than Rodells. We’re experts in the industry and provide excellent services to a wide range of clients. We’ve been serving our customers for over one hundred years and look forward to continuing our work for another century.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
From retail to restaurants, it is vital that the exterior of your business looks inviting and well-kept as this will attract a multiplicity of customers to walk through your door. Although renovations may initially seem costly and time-consuming, they can certainly pay off; giving your business perhaps a much-needed facelift. With the increasingly competitive field of the high street, having a business exterior that stands out amongst other competitors is vital for longevity.
However, who should you call if you want to have your business exterior revamped? From building contractors to roofers and exterior decorators, none of these could do their job without commercial scaffolding erection. Commercial scaffolding hire is catered specifically to businesses, offering a specialist service that accommodates to the business owners needs. For example, unlike domestic scaffolding, commercial scaffolding may intrude onto public thoroughfares like busy streets, so it will need to be constructed differently.
Choosing a trusted commercial scaffolding hire company is key to having your needs, high safety standards and other considerations met. Below, we take a closer look at how a commercial scaffolding hire company is an asset with business renovations.
Commercial scaffolding can help businesses of all shapes and sizes
In comparison to domestic scaffolding, commercial scaffolding can accommodate to businesses of all shapes, sizes and building types. This is because commercial properties can come in a large range of architectural variation than the average domestic property, meaning that commercial scaffolding needs to be adaptable.
Infact, many businesses like banks, art galleries, public schools, bars, restaurants and retail are in grade listed and historic buildings, meaning that maintenance renovations need to be carried out with precision and to a high standard. With this in mind, scaffolding can be erected which isn’t bolted onto the building, meaning that the building’s exterior is not damaged.
On commission of a project, commercial scaffolding companies will design a bespoke scaffolding structure that will fit the dimensions and requirements of the business. From this, they can help build a quote of how much scaffolding will cost and they will determine what kind of scaffolding you need.
There are a range of options of scaffolding available from temporary scaffolds to permanent structures. For example, if you are just repainting a shop sign, you may only need a temporary and portable scaffold structure. However, if you are repainting the whole building, adding new windows or building an extension, a long term structure will be needed.
Can help increase the layout and space of business
Having commercial scaffolding made for your business renovation extends the amount and type of renovations you can have performed rather than hindering them. For instance, if the scaffolding is erected primarily for window installation, why not get the business exterior painted too? Or, if you are having your roof fixed, why not see if you can have your business extended and made bigger?
Commercial scaffolding allows you to safety and flexibly make the adjustments and renovations to your business as you desire. For instance, it can help support the business’ structure as you either build another floor or another room.
Increasing the space and, consequently, the layout of your business will have a range of benefits. Not only does it signify that your business is successful and expanding, but also it will allow you to hire more employees, creating a more comfortable working environment, add recreational spaces, and add more meeting rooms.
Improving the exterior of a businesses’ building has a range of benefits
Commercial scaffolding hire allows you to improve your business’ exterior. A worthy investment, improving your business’ exterior, whether just an office space or hotel, offers a range of benefits.
Improving your business exterior is one of the best ways to attract customers, clients, potential employees and build a brand. In this day and age, one of the best ways to attract customers is through the use of free marketing tools like Instagram. For example, ‘instagrammable’ interiors and exteriors will prompt customers, clients and employees to take a photo and share on social media, creating positive rapport and a buzz for your brand. Some of the most famous examples of these are the bakeries Peggy Porschen Cakes and the Biscuiteers in London.
As the saying goes, ‘first impressions count’ and with a stunningly chic and well-presented shop exterior or office, this is certainly where it applies. Having a well-presented exterior indicates to clients, customers, and potential employees that you work to a high standard, you have high-quality products to sell and you are successful. In retail, this could prompt for customers to shop there often as with the boom of e-commerce offering a valuable in-person shopping experience is important. For offices, a well-kept exterior could allow you to secure potential investors or new clients.
There are a range of ways you can improve the exterior of your offices, retail business, hotel or restaurant. If in an urban area, why not have a spray-painted mural, or have it painted in a crisp pastel hue? Alternatively, if you just want to spruce up the space rather than make the statement, you could have your windows cleaned and the stones pressure-washed.
What’s more, once the scaffolding is erected and you are having the exterior of your business improved, the contractors could also identify any structural issues that need repairing or just some TLC. Therefore, the safety of your exterior could potentially be improved too. A tired, dilapidated and business exterior that is falling apart is never going to be attractive.
Properties of reputable commercial scaffolding services
Once you have decided that commercial scaffolding hire can benefit your business in a range of ways, now it comes to finding the right scaffolding business. In fact, finding the right scaffolding services can actually improve the renovations that are taking place. Below, we indicate the importance of finding the right scaffolding company, and how to spot the best.
AccreditationsA hallmark for a business’ success, accreditations like the Scaffolding Association, the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation, and Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme will prove to the customer that their business’ practises have been tested and approved to a high code of conduct. Choosing an accredited company will not only give you peace of mind that the work carried out will be of a high standard, but it also is a third-party organisation that you can take up any complaints with.
TestimonialsSimilarly to accreditations, positive testimonials and recommendations are more valuable than ever in finding a reputable business. If you are hiring a company for a service, you want to be assured that you can trust them to perform it well. Testimonials are a first-hand written experience from another customer, you can find them on their website, on google or by contacting the company.
ExperienceThere is nothing that can teach you more in life than first-hand experience, and if you are a business whose financial future will depend upon your renovations, then you should certainly choose a scaffolding company with years of experience under their belt. Especially a scaffolding company that has experience dealing with your kind of business, listed buildings the particular renovations you want to be performed.
SafetyCommercial scaffolding hire can pose a few health and safety risks if not assembled correctly. For instance, as it would be installed on a public building, the contractors and the general public would both potentially be at risk if the scaffolding was loose. With this in mind, you can pose certain threat to the public, however, a commercial scaffolding company with the qualities listed above would ensure that a safe installation would occur.
Minimum disruptionIf you are planning on minimal renovations, it is likely that your business will need to continue its day to day operations whilst the scaffolding is being installed and the renovations are taking place. With this in mind, you certainly don’t want the clanking and banging of installation to interrupt or hinder your staff’s productivity. An experienced commercial scaffolding company will understand this and will make sure that they cause minimum disruption to your day.
Sticks to deadlinesIf you are having major exterior renovations like for a hotel, restaurant or retail, then it is likely that you may have to temporarily close. However, especially if the renovations are designed to boost your business, you will know how important it is for deadlines to be strictly kept to and met. After all, time really is money! With this in mind, an experienced commercial scaffolding company will understand this, and will endeavour to make sure all deadlines are met in good time, so you can re-open without a hitch.
Rodells Ltd, Commercial Scaffolding Hire and Scaffolding Services in St Albans
If you are looking for an experienced commercial scaffolding service, then here at Rodells Ltd, we think we fit that requirement perfectly with over 120 years of experience in the trade. Located in Hertfordshire, we have a large scaffolding department fully equipped with high quality scaffolds and experts. We have worked with both domestic and commercial clients, understanding their needs and making sure we meet strict deadlines. So, no matter what renovation you are having performed, we can help.
Alongside our comprehensive scaffolding services, we can also offer temporary support systems, specialist works with Churches, rope access and steeple-jacks, and also we can offer your property lightning protection. To find out more, simply contact us today.
We all see scaffolding almost everyday, especially if you live in a city. But have you ever wondered where the idea of using scaffolding came from? Well, we’re going to take a quick look at where scaffolding all began and how it has developed over time.
The Start of Scaffolding
The truth about where scaffolding started is that we don’t entirely know, but what we do know, is that it was a long time ago. The earliest signs of scaffolding that we’ve found so far are over seventeen thousand years old.
We don’t exactly know what the scaffolding structures would have looked like, but there is evidence to suggest these did exist. Paleolithic cave paintings that were discovered in 1940 in Southern France show the earliest signs of scaffolding. Both the height of the cave paintings and sockets found in the wall suggest that some kind of early scaffolding system was used to achieve these ancient artworks.
Scaffolding structures were also used in more recognisable historic creations, notably the ancient Egyptians and Greeks famously using scaffolding for some of their grand structures that even stand still stand today. Testament to those who built them.
When we fast forward to the Victorian era, there was still no industry standard when it came to scaffolding sizes or even the materials that were used to create the scaffolding structures. Many used wood or even bamboo scaffolding structures, which are still commonly used across many countries around the world today.
Though, a scaffolding revolution was about to happen. In 1913, Daniel Palmer Jones invented a coupling system for scaffolding which led him down a path of invention. His creations led to a standardisation across the scaffolding industry. This helped to make working with scaffolding safer for all involved.
Scaffolding As We Know It
Nowadays, scaffolding is a regulated industry with standardised practices used to keep those using the scaffolding safe, as well as members of the general public. As it stands, all scaffolding in the United Kingdom must meet European Standards, something that we at Rodells, of course, adhere to.
Here at Roddells, we are a specialist works and access company that has operated since all the way back in 1898. We’re based in Hertfordshire providing scaffolding services and lightning protection, with a focus on high-quality and affordability. If you require our services, get in contact with our friendly and experienced team, who will help to find the perfect solution for you.
Have you ever sat through an epic thunderstorm and watched stunning bolts of lightning streak across the sky only to think “how does that work?” With over 100 bolts of lightning striking the earth every second on average, it’s likely you’ve seen this beautiful, yet deadly, natural display countless times before.
However, whilst this breathtaking natural phenomenon is constantly happening across the globe, you may be surprised to know that scientists still aren’t quite sure how it works - luckily, we’re slowly filling in the gaps.
The water cycleWhen it comes to understanding thunderstorms, it’s best to start with the water cycle. As water is evaporated by the sun, the subsequent vapour forms clouds thanks to condensation. Once enough water condenses, the water forms into droplets we know as rain and snow; the rainwater will then make its way back to the ocean.
It is within these rising and falling clouds of water vapour that lightning is both created and dispersed, meaning that areas with high precipitation and humidity levels are most affected by lightning strikes.
CollisionsWhilst scientists are not completely sure how huge charges of electricity are created in the atmosphere, there is a plausible explanation that many researchers ascribe to. As we now know, clouds are simply condensed water and ice evaporated from the world’s oceans. These clouds contain millions of water particles that are constantly rising and falling as evaporation and condensation continues.
Scientists believe that these droplets collide with each other, with the heavier condensed water knocking electrons from rising vapour as it falls. These knocked off electrons gather at the bottom of a cloud, creating a positive charge, while positively charged moisture builds at the top, creating a charge separation.
FreezingFreezing also plays an important role within scientists’ theory of lightning. As moisture reaches the upper regions of the cloud, it begins to freeze, giving it a positive charge while the unfrozen portions have a negative charge. By combining collisions and freezing within a cloud, enough charge is theoretically created to produce the vast amount of energy required for a lightning strike.
StrikesOnce an electric field has been produced thanks to the positive and negative charges within a cloud, the negative charge in the lower regions of the cloud begin to attract the positive charge built up in the ground below. Once the positive charge meets the negative, a lightning strike occurs.
Keep your building safe with Rodells Lightning protection servicesAlthough a lightning strike is a beautiful natural display, they can also be extremely dangerous both to people and structures. With Rodells lightning protection services, however, you can ensure your building remains safe.
Offering everything from tests and inspections to lightning rod installation, you can rest assured that Rodells will get the job done. For more information, visit our website or get in touch on 01727 841855.
Our temporary support team hard at work moving the Banksy Artwork in Shoreditch. The Artwork on the phone
Months of preparation went into getting the structure stable enough to cut out the piece and retain its shape. Alongside CDS Designs who helped design the structure to hold the Artwork, our team managed to safely move the artwork in one piece.
Full live video recorded from ITV London below,
Please use this link to view the ITV London News Story
Lightning is an incredible supernatural-looking natural phenomenon which has a certain air of mystery about it. Although recordings of the longest, strongest and biggest strikes have been taken over the years, the World Meteorological Organisation believes that there must be more extreme examples that have happened or are happening in nature, but we just haven’t recorded them.
Whilst we could speculate for hours about the most impressive lightning strikes in history, those that have been recorded are still pretty extraordinary. Here are some amazing lightning strike records in history.
The longest lightning boltThe longest lightning bolt in history- i.e. the furthest reported distance from end to end of a bolt- was a bolt that hit Oklahoma in June 2007, covering a remarkable horizontal distance of 321km (200 miles). This means that the bolt reached from almost one side of the state to the other and must’ve been quite the spectacle to see! Prior to this, the highest recording was only 32km long, so this mega-bolt in Oklahoma really has changed the way scientists and meteorologists understood lightning storms.
The longest lightning strikeNot long after Oklahoma, the record books were broken once again, but this time, for the longest lightning strike of all time. During a dramatic storm in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in southern France in 2012, a single strike lasted for an impressive 7.74 seconds, making it the longest reported duration of a continual lightning strike ever. Before this strike, it was believed that lightning couldn’t last longer than one second, so this storm truly shook meteorologists the world over.
The highest-current lightning strikeAll lightning strikes are dangerous and carry an extremely high current, however, the highest-current lightning bolt recorded was at a whopping 300,000 amps, and the highest estimated voltage was one billion volts. These monster-bolts tend to occur during positive cloud-to-ground lightning, yet, if you want to see some truly powerful lightning strikes, you’d have to go up into space. In 2009, the Cassini Spacecraft recorded super bolts on Saturn and Jupiter, which were 100 times brighter and up to 10,000 times more powerful than lightning on Earth.
The most lightning-struck locationIf you want to see an epic display of Mother Nature, you should visit Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. This bay location on the Caribbean experiences an incredible 232.52 lightning flashes per square kilometre every year and storms happen almost nightly. The warm air off the lake meets with cool winds from the Andes, setting off an endless storm which is known as Catatumbo Lightning. Storms have been used by ships for navigation for centuries, and nowadays, tourists can even see the storms on local tour boats.
The most lightning strikes survivedWhen you think about being struck by lightning, you probably think that that’s it for you. Well, in most cases that is true, however, Roy Cleveland Sullivan, a park ranger in Virginia, defied the odds. He was struck by lightning an extraordinary seven times and survived every single strike. He earned the nickname ‘Human Lightning Rod’ and still holds the record to this day.
Here at Rodells, although we marvel at the incredible phenomenon that is lightning, we also understand its powerful and unforgiving nature. For this reason, we’re passionate about protecting our local community here in St Albans, as well as the wider nation, by using our quality lightning protection services. To find out more, get in touch with us today.
Lightning damage is a concern for landlords and facility managers all across the world. Every minute, there are more than a thousand thunderstorms around the Earth causing some 6,000 flashes of lightning. Generally, the UK experiences a low level of lightning activity in comparison to other countries across the globe, however, it does still pose a risk to lives and properties in Britain. This is why it is important that the legal requirements for lightning protection are met by all facility managers and landlords.
For centuries, lightning has interested, excited and yet terrified mankind. Bright flashes of light coupled with the roaring sounds of thunder were once believed to be a supernatural phenomenon in the realm of the gods, but today, we understand that lighting is an electric current, or a large-scale natural spark discharge.
There are different types of lightning: cloud to ground, cloud to cloud and within a single cloud, as well as rare variations such as ball and ribbon lightning. One lightning strike can exceed 100 million Volt-Amps, and can cause damage to the structure of a building as well as any electric and electronic equipment inside it. With our use and reliance on electronic equipment and gadgets increasing constantly, damage to electronic items caused by lightning has risen over the years.
In this article we discuss the buildings that rely on lightning protection and why they require such protection.
How does lightning protection work?Firstly, let’s take a brief look at how lightning protection works. The main function of a lightning protection system (LPS) is to protect a structure from damage caused by a lightning strike. Of course, there are no devices able to change natural weather phenomena, but there are some precautions people can take in order to reduce the damage caused by a lightning strike.
An LPS intercepts a lightning strike by providing a low-resistance path to ground for the lightning to follow and disperse. Without this path of low impedance to earth that allows the discharge to travel to the ground, lightning would follow paths of high resistance through a building’s structure, causing extensive damage.
Buildings that require lightning protectionBuildings most at risk of being struck by lightning are those on hilltops or hillsides, in isolated positions or at high altitudes, as well as tall towers and chimneys. While lightning protection is not a legal requirement for all buildings and structures, the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) will apply to most businesses.
Below we take a look at the buildings that need lightning protection.Historic BuildingsMany historic buildings were not constructed with lightning protection in mind. Historic buildings, including churches, museums, lighthouses, schools and factories, may be at unnecessary risk of damage or even loss as a result of a lightning strike, which is why it is important that they are protected.
Historic buildings need to be preserved and protected from lightning damage for a number of reasons. Not only do they have intrinsic value, but they are also reminders of a city’s culture and past, reflecting our history and helping us to understand people who lived in different eras with different traditions and habits.
The provision of an LPS depends on the type of historic building that needs to be protected. Whether or not a building needs to be protected is assessed against a series of factors, including the use, construction and location of the structure. Of course, the appearance of an LPS on a historic building can appear out of place and intrusive, which is why the choice of material used is important.
Tall BuildingsEvery year, our buildings in the UK get taller. As we build upwards, the risk of tall structures being struck by lightning increases and, of course, it is important that we safeguard these buildings against the deadly power of a lightning strike. Lightning will always take the path with the least electrical resistance; the tallest buildings have the shortest distance from the thundercloud to the ground, which is why they are more commonly struck.
In addition, many tall buildings are made from metal which conducts electricity very well. While lightning is unpredictable and can strike anywhere and at any time, it is common knowledge that taller buildings are more at risk.
So, how do we protect them? Protection for tall buildings against lightning strikes is often provided by the installation of a lightning rod. Instead of the top of the structure making contact with a lightning strike, the rod will instead become the point of initiation and intercept the lightning strike.SchoolsIn schools, hundreds of people, both teachers and students, congregate. There is also usually a large number of electrical equipment in schools - such as computers, printers, electronic whiteboards, power sockets, laboratory equipment and more. For the safety of lives, electronic items and the building, lightning protection is important in schools.
The largest number of lightning casualties occur in open spaces and therefore students on sports fields or in the playground may be at risk during a thunderstorm. Education authorities have the responsibility for the wellbeing of students and therefore lightning protection risk assessments are usually carried out by the local education authorities. Protection against lightning strikes in schools is subject to safety standard BS EN/IEC 63205.
In addition, there are some other considerations and situations in which lightning protection may be required. These include:
Other buildings that may require lightning protection include:
Does my business need to get in touch with lightning protection contractors?When it comes to the safety and protection of your business, you never want to compromise. While you may assume that the chances of your building being hit by lightning are zero, each year, hundreds of injuries are caused across the UK by lightning. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your employees, as well as the building and electronic equipment housed inside. It is recommended that your business has a risk assessment carried out to determine whether or not you require lightning protection. In addition, if you think that you require an earthing system for your home, you should get in touch with an expert to discuss this.
Rodells: Your go-to for high-quality lightning arrestersSince 1898, Rodells have been installing and maintaining lightning protection systems on commercial, historic and ecclesiastical buildings, boasting a wealth of experience in designing and installing lightning protection for buildings of all sizes and shapes. All of our engineers are fully qualified and highly trained, as well as CITB registered, with a vast amount of experience in all lightning protection works.
Not only do we design and implement earthing and lightning protection systems, but we also specialise in the testing and inspection, as well as repair works and new installs. If you require a risk assessment for your building, you can rest assured that we are always compliant with BS EN 62305, and our installations are always completed to this standard.
To learn more about us and what we do, simply visit our website or get in touch today. We are able to contract works throughout the UK - Scotland, North of England and Wales by request.