09 April 2019
Tall buildings can attract lightning and some Methodist churches have elected to install lightning protection.
Lightning strikes to churches
A bolt of lightning contains a significant amount of electricity and damage can come in two main forms:
- structural damage to the fabric of the building
- the church’s electrical systems and equipment.
Lightning defence systems
Lightning is an unpredictable event but there are some ways to protect your church:
- Single Franklin rod lightning conductor
Usually installed at the highest point of the church, this can lead volts down to an earth stake buried in the ground.
- “Faraday” cage systems
These involve a mesh of conductors laid at intervals over the church roof and walls of the building and connect to the ground by earth electrodes.
Lightning insurance cover
The Methodist Insurance church insurance policy provides cover for lightning strikes but we recommend the following:
- A lightning conductor should be fitted if the lightning protection risk assessment indicates one is required. You should consult with the church architect in the first instance.
- The lightning conductor testing should be carried out every two-and-a-half years or four years depending on the protection system installed.
- Historic lightning protection systems do not have to be upgraded unless identified during a Methodist Insurance risk assessment of the church.
- Inspections and repairs should be conducted by a competent contractor such as a member of ATLAS (Association of Technical Lightning and Access Specialists).