following information is taken from the Dorset County Council
web site and lists the Codes of Practice of the Thatching
Report. The information is therefore most applicable to residents
within Dorset but also provides a useful guide to all members
of thatched properties. It is important to remember that it
is necessary to contact your local authority for legislation
relevant to your property. The information sets out the background
of measures rather than any precise legislation.
Matters which Require Listed Building
following matters require consent:
change from one thatch material to another. Long straw, combed
wheat reed, water reed, sedge and heather are different materials.
Any change in the pattern or form of slopes, ridges, eaves
or verges of the roof. This includes the ridge and step technique
and any change to dormer windows.
very few exceptions the following matters will be considered
to constitute works which require consent:
removal of multi-layered thatch where four or more layers
are to be removed;
The removal of pole rafters and other structural timber;
The removal of wattle-work;
The removal of smoke blackened thatch.
for determining listed building consent
applications for thatch work
thatched roofs shall be re-thatched rather than replaced in
Thatched roofs made of combed wheat and long straw shall normally
be re-thatched in similar materials, not water reed.
Except in localised areas where there is a tradition of the
use of water reed, replacement of water reed by long straw
or combed wheat reed will be encouraged.
When thatching becomes necessary to buildings that are linked
or to buildings that form a clearly defined group, the traditional
materials and thatching style will be encouraged on each unit
in order to achieve a traditional and coherent appearance
to the whole group.
a shortage of thatching material occurs the use of an alternative
may be sanctioned subject to the following provisions:
the material is not obtainable within reasonable time i.e.
greater than 6 months to harvest from the start date for work
on site; independent proof is provided of the shortage in
the form of a letter from the Rural Development Commission
thatching advisor; the local authority agrees that change
will not be detrimental to the long term preservation of the
roof; the thatcher agrees to match the style of the existing
roof; he should provide photographic evidence of this. Where
the work is not matched the local authority may require the
work to be redone. The legal power to compel correct work
can be exercised through a listed building enforcement notice.
and Decorative features
replacement of flush ridges with block ridges will be resisted.
Flush ridges will be encouraged.
Replacement ridges should be kept as simple as possible.
Where block ridges are to be replaced they should be no deeper
than 4 inches.
Under normal circumstances “points” will only
be accepted where there is evidence of them on the building
The introduction of decorative features will be discouraged.
aim is to preserve as much of the historic fabric as possible
and to avoid unnecessary disturbance to the original thatch.
If possible the roof should be repaired in situ on a like
for like basis; new parts or even whole timbers being scarfed
or flitched into position. Where this is not possible it is
desirable to augment the structural support. In certain cases
this may be limited to propping or for steel straps to provide
bracing. Alternatively a separate structure may be necessary
besides the old one. Only in exceptional circumstances will
removal and replacement with an alternative structure be accepted.
Wholesale replacement and removal of pole rafters needs to
be fully justified. In a listed building consent application
for wholesale removal clear evidence will be needed for replacement
to be justified. In such cases Local Authorities will encourage
like for like building.
Shape and Profile
The aim is to preserve traditional local styles of thatching.
Shape and profile are particularly important elements of this.
Therefore the external shape and profile of the roof should
Substantial stripping of thatch will only be allowed where
there is no alternative. If that is required justification
must be provided and arrangements must be made for recording.
for the submission of applications for consent for thatch
application for consent should contain details of the existing
roof and of the proposed works in the following form:
description of the existing roof containing notes of what
the existing materials are and how many layers there are.
The ridge, eaves and verge pattern and profiles and treatment
of fillets, flashings and any decorative details should be
described, especially where these details are to be changed.
It is also important to describe whether any particular features
survive such as wattle-work, or smoke blackened thatch, or
pole rafters. If the building is part of a group then the
description should also contain a description of the traditional
material and style of the group. Photographs, minimum 5”
x 7” but not Polaroids, of all relevant aspects, both
detailed and general of the building and the roof. A detailed
specification of the work including descriptions of the amount
of existing thatch which is to be removed, the thatching material
to be used, ridge, eaves and verge patterns and profiles and
the treatment of fillets, flashing and any decorative details.
Some of this information can be given by photographs of equivalent
work. Where changes to the roof structure are proposed, drawings
of the existing and the new roof structure and/or repairs
with, in certain cases, a structural engineers report to justify
to other articles in this category