With over 300,000 lightning strikes in the UK every year, organisations should have a lightning protection system installed to protect their building, its occupants and contents from potential damage in the event of a strike.
The majority of buildings will be termed a ‘critical structure’ as defined in the recognised British Standard for the design, installation and testing of lightning protection systems, BS EN 62305:2011 (part 3), and will require an annual test and inspection programme undertaken by a competent Specialist Contractor to ensure their continued safety to protect the building.
ATLAS is aware that there are an increasing number of companies who are not qualified or competent to undertake this specialist work and launched its Inspect and Protect Campaign to raise quality standards for the testing and inspection of lightning protection systems.
What is a Critical Structure?
A critical structure is defined as one which contains sensitive internal systems including office blocks; commercial buildings or places where a high number of people may be present, such as churches or heritage buildings; and buildings where explosive materials are stored. Buildings which are classed as ‘critical’ should have their lightning protection system visually inspected every six months with electrical testing performed once a year.
Electrical testing should be undertaken every year by a competent person who has the training and experience of working within the lightning protection industry. ATLAS recommends that clients use the services of a Specialist Contractor which has the knowledge and skills to test and inspect the system in line with its design and installation.
Additional testing will also be required to the lightning protection system after any building remedial works have taken place.
The Inspect and Protect Campaign from ATLAS has two key objectives:
- Establish clear standards of competency for testing and inspection work
This includes the promotion of formal qualifications, ensuring clients use reputable companies with a track record of lightning protection work and receive a formal outline of the work to be undertaken.
- Encourage clients to specify ATLAS members for testing and inspection work
To help you to identify an experienced lightning protection professional, ATLAS has developed the handy leaflet Choosing a Specialist Contractor for your Lightning Protection System outlining the skills and experience that you should look for when choosing your Specialist Contractor. Use this in conjunction with the Client Checklist for Lightning Protection Systems to ensure that the Specialist Contractor is able to provide a thorough inspection of your system in line with the current British Standard.
For more information or to contact an ATLAS member, visit the Find a Member page.