Commercial fire protection devices

There are no devices on the market which can remedy inappropriate installations and irresponsible practices. To put the selection of various commercial devices into context, no device is a substitute for proper maintenance, good practice and a thorough understanding of thatch fire risk management. Remember when seeking advice, it is often being given by someone trying to sell you something! Smoke alarms are essential for the preservation of life, but by the time they have detected smoke, it will be too late to save the property.

As thatch is classified as a flammable material Approved Document J requires (in Paragraph 2.18 Separation of Combustible Materials from fireplaces and flues)

“Combustible material should not be located where it could be ignited by the heat dissipated through the walls of fireplaces or flues”.

Compliance with Approved Document J of the Building Regulations requires that any work carried out on an appliance or chimney is notifiable to the local authority (usually via the HETAS compliance certificate). A material change of any part of the combustion system (appliance or chimney) will require the complete combustion system to be brought into compliance with current Building Regulations. When buying a property, make sure any compliance certificate is available and current before lighting the fire.

Safety products worth considering:

  • A chimney temperature monitor which helps users manage the stove at a consistent efficient combustion temperature
  • A fire break between the chimney and thatch created with fireboard and a 50mm air gap
  • Fire proof boarding: during the re-thatching process if the complete thatch is removed back to timbers a fire proof boarding can be installed
  • Bird Guards: are essential and should be fitted on all open chimneys.
  • The current design of spark arrestors offer little benefit and can add to the risks.
  • Increasing the chimney height will not solve any problems. It could create new ones including structural damage.
  • Do not install or use a wood burning stove.