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My name is Christopher J Barsby of Barsby Lightning Protection Leicester;
It would appear that there is a considerable amount of confusion regarding the Testing of Lightning Protection Systems.

We are constantly informed by Church PCC’s that they are instructed by insurance companies and others, that it is only necessary to test Lightning Protection Systems every 2.5 years or even 5 years in line with the architects 5 yearly report.

British & European Standards require Lightning Protection Systems to be tested & inspected annually, most applied risk assessments would sensibly indicate this requirement; the reasons for this are as follows;
Earth resistance readings can increase with seasonal changes, in the summertime sub-strata (earth) dries-out and resistance to earth will rise, also it is important that all connections are checked for electrical continuity. Should a joint become corroded, this will encourage power to “Side Flash” (Transient over Voltage) to any metal within or on a structure. Lightning as been known to side flash up to 3 miles from 1 electrical installation to another so therefore, all Electrical installations are susceptible to power surge, for this reason Anti-surge protection on the in-coming mains Electrical supply is also a requirement, to say little of the ensuing fire hazard.

It has been suggested that because many Churches have a simple protection system annual testing is not required; this is incorrect and dangerous information.
Most Church systems are indeed old, out-dated and non-conformist so therefore it becomes more important to inspect regularly not less.    

This is a very specialist area; we are not just conductor engineers but also earthing & grounding specialists. Insurance companies are not qualified to give anyone information regarding this industry, unless the information given includes all relevant standards. 5 years maybe acceptable for the implementation of their policies however, all lightning conductor engineers must work in accordance with the correct standards as documented. BSEN 62305   
A Certificate of compliance is for a 12 month period only, such as an MOT certificate on a motor vehicle, and is also proof of a maintenance program for Insurance purposes.

Finial rods (Air Termination Rods) are a capture mechanism, to harness the power of a Lightning strike with a poor or badly maintained earth installation is extremely dangerous, a lightning strike can be Incalculable Voltage.

Any Structure that has a badly maintained system not only endanger the building, people within the building but also the visiting public (Strikes create a risk from falling Stonework) anyone dealing directly or indirectly with Lightning Protection must have a “duty of care” to inform others of the correct documented Standards.

Should you require further information, please e-mail directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call eaither numbers listed below.

Christopher J Barsby
TEL 01455 208229 or Mobile 07798 751051.