When Is Lightning Protection Required?
November 16th, 2021
Last updated: June 9th, 2023
With current levels exceeding 100,000 amperes, temperatures of 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and speeds of roughly one-third of the speed of light, lightning is the most powerful natural phenomenon on the planet. However, it is good to know that weather-related damage and death can be avoided by installing and maintaining a lightning protection system outside your building.
In this guide, we’re explaining when lightning protection is needed, and the benefits of lightning protection for businesses, as well as your responsibilities when it comes to lightning protection in the UK.
Why are Lightning Protection Systems Important?
If it can’t find a safe path to the surface, lightning can do a lot of damage to a building and potentially injure or kill people. Lightning will hit any accessible conductor to find a way to the ground, including electrical lines, phone lines, cables, computers, water pipelines, or even the structure itself if there is a lightning strike.
Side-flashes will cause flames or explosions when it jumps from one part of the building to the next. If a structure is hit by lightning, electronics and appliances may malfunction as well. This can cause permanent damage, one of the reasons why lightning protection is absolutely crucial.
To produce graphs and data, satellites track lightning activity. There are around 2,000 thunderstorms occurring across the planet at any given moment. Lightning strikes occur at a rate of 100 times per second on Earth.
Lightning protection systems cannot actually prevent a lightning strike from occurring. Instead, they simply act as a lightning rod, diverting the bolt’s energy to the earth instead. If you don’t have lightning protection, it can strike you regardless of where you are.
It makes no difference if there are taller structures or massive trees in the area; lightning can hit any low-rise building or structure, even the ground. This is not necessarily the conception many people have when it comes to lightning. A lot of people think only high rise buildings are at risk. Even though your building may not be directly hit by lightning, lightning protection can nevertheless help avoid damage from side-flashes that may occur as a result.
How are Lightning Protection Systems Installed?
The tallest and most vulnerable areas of a building or structure have rods installed at regular intervals. These rods are linked to conductor cables that run along the roof’s tops and edges and down the building, providing a safe route to the ground rod, which is planted deep into the earth around the safeguarded structure.
Smaller lightning rods are also now available, which may be placed to fit in with existing structural styles. Prior to construction, design specialists can go through protection plans to determine the best approach to conceal the system while still maintaining the building’s visual appeal.
The good news is that you don’t have to worry too much about the logistics, and, once the installation of lightning protection is complete, it should last a very long time. It needs to be maintained, and there are often improvements you can make.
When Is Lightning Protection Required in UK Commercial Properties?
What are the Lightning Protection Standards in the UK?
Design, installation, and maintenance of lightning protection systems (LPS) are all governed by IEC 63205, a globally-recognised standard. According to the British Standard Institute (BSI), the IEC paper provides the basis for BS EN 62305, the European standard that was adopted by the United Kingdom. They’re both composed of the same four components:
- The first section outlines the basic concepts for safeguarding structures, people, property, and electrical equipment against the harm that lightning may do.
- The second portion deals with risk management, and it outlines the steps involved in assessing the potential harm caused by a lightning strike.
- The third part covers the criteria for a lightning protection system (LPS) to protect a building from physical damage, as well as the protection of people and property from harm caused by contact and step voltages near the LPS.
- With regard to electrical and electronic systems within buildings and the reduction of the danger of permanent failures due to lightning electromagnetic impulse (LEMP), the fourth section gives information on their design, installation and maintenance.
Before the implementation of BS EN 62305, the British standard was BS 6651. Although initially released in 1985, it underwent several revisions before being withdrawn on August 31, 2008, after being further modified in 1999 and 2005.
Lightning protection is optional for most buildings, although it may be installed in practically any form of structure. Schools, hospitals, churches, and airports all have lightning protection as standard in the United Kingdom.
Lightning protection should last a lifetime, which means it must be inspected on a regular basis. It’s important to verify the system after making any renovations, expansions, or alterations to see if there are any upgrades needed. Our electrical services cover lightning protection as well as a variety of obligatory business services.
Here at Robinsons Facilities Services, we provide lightning protection maintenance and repair throughout Yorkshire. That way, you can be sure everything is operating properly, and that your structure will be protected from the elements. If you have an emergency requiring lightning protection system repairs and maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact us right away.
Working across Yorkshire, we cover North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all planned, reactive maintenance or emergency call out.