Lightning Protection for a lapa

Lightning protection for a lapa is a must when it comes to proper insurance.

Lapas are one of the ideal enhancements for your property to improve the outdoor space and comfort of living, but very few people are aware of the high standards that are set by insurers that need to be complied with especially when it comes to lightning protection. These standards are enforced by the following entities, including your local municipality, the insurers and – if you live in a sectional title complex – the trustees and body corporate.

The insurance companies see a lapa as a non-standard structure and therefore regard it as a special risk where special rates apply to calculate premiums.

Although a lightning protection for a lapa is not compulsory, the insurers may and most likely will insist on the installation of proper lightning protection for your lapa, and it is a very good preventative measure, especially in areas with frequent thunder storms. According to the insurers an effective lightning mast is of such a height as to provide a shielding angle to the structure/s it is meant to protect. A minimum angle of 45 degrees taken from the highest tip of the mast to ground zero is prescribed. The mast can either be attached to the building or free-standing and should furthermore be bonded to the earth electrode of the structure or an earth electrode of its own.

The metals that were used in the thatch construction (i.e. wire mesh, metal coated insulation, etc.) should also be bonded to the earth metal water main or earth electrode of the structure. If the chimney or gable ends extend above the shielding angle of the lightning mast, a peripheral conductor should be used around the chimney or along the gable. This should be connected to a down conductor bonded to the earth electrode or water main.

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