Lightning Protection Testing
- Location:South London
- Client:Property Management Business
- Project Duration:One Day
- Subtrate:Lightning Protection System
- Access Method:Rope Access
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Lightning strikes are a much more regular occurrence in the UK than might be expected. We were asked by an existing property management client to perform lightning protection system testing on a high-rise building in south London.
Combining our abseiling expertise and regulatory knowledge on lightning protection systems, we ensured our client's property is safe against lightning strikes.
Tall buildings are more susceptible. This is due to there being less air to act as an insulator between an actual high-rise building and the clouds.
A main challenge for most lightning test engineers would usually be the height of the building. At high elevations, the wind speed is much greater. This can make working via rope access difficult and dangerous. Our team of experts have undertaken specialist courses and are all IRATA qualified.The IRATA is a rope access system which provides a safe method for our team to work at height when specialist access and suspension is required. It also makes it possible to stay in an allocated work position, with the required level of support for the duration of the job
Our IRATA qualified team of abseilers can safely perform calibrated tests on lightning protection systems at any height!
‘Lightning never strikes twice’ is indeed a myth and tall buildings are a prime target for lightning strikes. They are highly likely to be hit more than once. In fact, the Empire State Building in New York is hit on average at least 24 times a year.
Another interesting and relevant fact is that every second there are 50 to 100 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes to the earth worldwide. That’s a considerable amount. So, for a great many of our clients, there are genuine concerns.Due to our specific expertise we are often asked to perform installation and testing of lighting protection systems. For this particular project we were only required to carry out testing of the system.
What’s A Lightning Protection System?
A lightning protection system is a system that has been designed to protect an infrastructure and its contents from being either directly or indirectly affected by a lightning strike.This ensures that excess electrical energy from these strikes takes a less destructive path to the ground through a building. This means that instead of flowing through the building's electrical wiring and piping where it could cause significant damage, it travels down a safe path into the ground.
What’s Lightning Conductor Testing?
Lightning conductor testing should be carried out on existing systems by skilled personnel on a regular basis, using calibrated test equipment to ensure safety and to comply with the relevant legislation. Testing the earthing system of a lightning protection system is also an important measure to ensure it is functioning effectively and safely. Each conductor has its own electrode termination, and the resistance to earth of the whole system must not exceed 10 ohms.
Safe Rope Access is Paramount
Most lightning protection testing companies do not have the capabilities for rope access. We have a distinct advantage for such testing as we use rope access for maintenance jobs all the time. This is an ideal skill set to have when maintenance or repairs are required for such large and complex jobs.Our in-house team of experts are equipped with the necessary credentials and experience to carry these tests out. This means property management companies have a one-stop-shop solution for their maintenance requirements and their lightning system tests for high rise building blocks.
Most lighting protection system testing companies don’t have the skills or resources for eye bolt testing and/or man safe systems. Man safes connect our workers to a fall arrest system with suitable personal protective equipment (PPE). Most companies that do eye bolt testing and man safes don’t actually offer lighting protection system testing as a service. We however are fully equipped and skilled to do it all.
Standards of ComplianceThe standards for the earthing system are set by law and require design limits to be met. All of the tests carried out by Spectrum are compliant with the British and European standards. We can complete a lightning risk assessment, provide advice, design, perform installation, as well as test and certify to the British standard (BSEN 62305). After each test, customers are issued with detailed reports accompanied by photos and videos when required along with their compliance certificate.
Our team of highly trained IRATA were able to efficiently test this property's lightning protection systems and ensured that the building was fully protected from any damages that could result from a lightning strike. Along with providing our client a detailed report including pictures and videos of their lightning protection system, we also helped them obtain a certificate of compliance stating their building was up to legislative codes.
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