Lightning Protection

lightning protection - Houses of ParliamentWe at Braileys® have been fitting lightning protection for many years. The specifications have changed and are now much more scientific and software driven. This has allowed lightning protection to move forward into the 21st century and is applied to more and more of our living and working spaces. We have invested in the newest software which allows us to accurately risk assess a building and make recommendations on how best we can achieve a satisfactory level of lightning protection. Now we rely on a combination of years of experience and the complex mathematical solution required to assess the level of risk and damage to a building.

The previous standard offered excellent standards of protection to standard buildings; the calculations were based on location use and size of building. This worked in a multiple choice way allowing for various permutations and worked on many levels and gave a level of protection based on science. The latest Standard BSEN 62305 has taken the risk analysis of the BS6651 and applied many more criteria, such as the risk associated with physical damage, risk of death and cultural and economic damage. Now each and every building can have a tailored solution.

BSEN 62305 allows various solutions to be tried to offer the maximum benefit to the occupants and owners of buildings. Indeed, as criteria are changed within the design stage it is possible to see how the risk is decreased or increased by changes in specification or design. It works especially well with green engineering becoming an important part of building design. We need to advise clients on the impact of PV panels, solar panels and wind turbines of the increase in risk they can add to buildings and how best to manage that increased risk.

Surge Protection

Surge Protection has become an important part of lightning protection, previously if a building had lightning protection it was assumed that it would be protected. There is evidence that a large part of lightning damage is caused by surge through the electrical system or indeed metallic services be it gas, water or television. Surge devices can now be included in the lightning risk assessment and can be tailored to suit all buildings. This allows protection to the devices that used to be damaged by a lightning strike nearby and indeed reduces the risk of physical damage and risk of death.

We can apply the BSEN 62305 to existing buildings by risk analysis and make precise recommendations as to what is required to achieve the latest standards. The risk assessment also allows us to confirm if the current lightning protection is valid and satisfactory. This allows many of our clients to approach lightning protection on a modular level, where lightning protection is in place we can advise which area is at most risk and prepare a schedule allowing the areas at highest risk to be rectified first. This is becoming increasingly insurance driven and our calculations can be used to demonstrate how the lightning protection is satisfactory and achieves the required standard.

We have used this software to improve lightning protection where buildings have changed use and the risk has changed. This is especially useful where the risk is increased by illness, age or a change in the number of hours a building is occupied.

Lightning Protection in New Structures

The mainstay of our business is the design of lightning protection for new buildings. We can work closely with architects and engineers to establish what is required, how best to achieve this and how to make sure it is designed to be in keeping with the building. We will often work with developers at the planning stage, running the risk analysis software, agreeing how this can be integrated into the construction process and managing the project from inception to completion. We work closely with both developers and frame builders to ensure the design objective is met and have frequent on site meetings to make sure we are working with the contractor. Should any problems arise during the construction process they are solved by the nominated site contact or the system designer. We have Design Insurance which allows us to take responsibility for the design and if changes are required we are trained and competent and can redesign as the protect changes.

We undertake a lot of work on the lightning protection of reinforced frames where we can fit lightning protection to the pile cap and integrate the lightning protection within the frame by use of continuous strip or starter bar; this allows us to work closely with architects who require a discreet system to be fitted. We have a design team who are happy to look at all options to achieve a design which achieves the design objective but can also be discreet. The system is also efficient for the contractor as we can manage the lightning protection during the construction process and complete the bulk of the works in short visits. These visits also allow for the contractor to be kept up to date with progress and any important paperwork such as certificates.