A lightning strike to a church can be devastating and parishes therefore need to take heed of the following advice:
- Lightning Protection for Churches - a document produced jointly by Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and English Heritage
- Guidance Notes: Church - Fire - produced by Ecclesiastical Insurance (guidance specifically relating to lightning protection starts at Page 24)
- The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) - online guidance available from their website
- Churchcare - online guidance
- British Standard BS EN 62305 - a summary produced by English Heritage.
With the continuing spate of metal theft, parishes should monitor the condition of their lightning conductor and associated cabling, and take quick action to repair any damage.
Testing your lightning conductor
You should have your lightning conductor tested in accordance with the official guidance from Churchcare on Professional Inspection of Building Services and Lightning Protection.
Advice from your architect
Parishes should contact their Church Architect for advice on:
- the lightning protection itself and associated regulations
- any associated works (e.g. roof structure, fixings or cable runs)
- suitable contractors.
Suitable accredited contractors can be identified via the Association of Technical Lightning Access Specialists (ATLAS), formerly known as the National Federation of Master Steeplejacks and Lightning Conductor Engineers. The ATLAS website allows you to search for accredited contractors by geographical area.
Authorisation for works
If the works are simple like-for-like replacement (not materially altering the appearance of the building) and under £5,000 (excluding VAT and the cost of scaffolding) then there is no need for a faculty application but you should seek the permission of the Archdeacon (via e-mail is fine) if the cost is between £2,000 and £5,000.