Our unique ability to visualise your dream, and apply our expertise to every detail, ensures that Biggarsberg Thatchers remain one of the countries leading Thatching companies.
John SMITH - Director - Biggarsberg Thatchers
John Smith of Biggarsberg Thatchers has had a firm hand in the thatching industry since the mid-eighties, by supplying the industry with thatch grass harvested from his family farm in Biggarsberg, Northern KZN. A decade later, he started his own thatching business.
I have no hesitation in recommending
Biggarsberg Thatchers for any project.
PATRICK ELLIOT - FORMER OWNER OF THE HLUHLUWE HOTEL & SAFARI
MEET THE TEAM
Founder / Director
John studied agriculture at the Weston Agricultural College where his interest in woodworking and construction saw him receiving the Woodworking award in his Matric year.
Partner / Accounting
Wife and partner in the company, June has been involved in the harvesting process since 1988 and has been an integral part of the business since its inception as Biggarsberg Thatchers in 1996. June ensures that the quality of the grass which is harvested off their farm, neighbouring farms and various areas within a 100km radius is kept to the highest standard of quality.
Jannie, who for 27 years as a train driver for SpoorNet one day decided that he needed a ‘real change’ so, along with his wife Ena they joined the Biggarsberg Thatchers team in 2007. Jannie’s extremely conscientious approach to his work ethic soon had him firmly entrenched within the company. Under John’s guidance, Jannie soon became most proficient in the understanding of the technical aspects of thatching.
Partner / Branch Director
Shaun, son and partner in the company, manages their Hillcrest Branch. Shaun along with his wife and young family moved from the farm to Hillcrest specifically to run and oversee the Phezulu Game Estate project. With the name and good reputation of Biggarsberg Thatchers becoming known throughout KZN, Shaun has found himself travelling far and wide running the sites in areas in the Midlands and northern and southern coastal regions including Kokstad and surrounding areas.
Ena, who had previously been employed in the corporate sector, joined the Biggarsberg Thatchers team and took over the administration duties within the company. Not content with just ‘being in the office’ Ena soon got involved in the harvesting side of things and more than proved her worth in the thatch quality control, and organizing and distribution of the ‘Harvesting Ladies’ from Tugela Valley.
Biggarsberg Thatchers, a firm that is very competent
in the thatching trade.
mike arnott - kzn wildlife
OUR GREATEST PROJECTS
I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone else. I rate them highly for any project both big and small.
Brian Armour - Ingeli Forest Lodge
We would not hesitate to employ them as subcontractors in the future.
Wally Lage - Grinaker-LTA
We have experienced and competent thatching and timber construction teams who operate under management's supervision on all contracts. John's personal interest lies within the intricacies and creativity of the structural design, and ensuring that our clients are totally satisfied with all aspects of the finished structure.
Our trademark is your guarantee of professionalism, quality and craftsmanship.
We stand firmly behind every blade.
The whole structure and the thatchwork is excellent!
Hans Gerken - Sitilo Game Farm
I am exceptionally proud of the work Biggarsberg Thatchers have done for me and guests and friends alike admire it.
Rob Spilsbury - La La Nathi Country Guest House
Biggarsberg Thatchers - Standard practice for thatch roofs.
|Gum poles will be used from trees of the Genus Eucalyptus grown in South Africa and treated with a preservative solution of copper-chromium-arsenate (CCA) compounds which complies with SABS 457 and applied in accordance with the SABS to Hazard Class H4.
All gum pole structures to buildings 6m and wider will be subject to engineers approval. This will form part of the fee paid by client to the Engineer.
All free standing structures i.e. Lappas will require Engineers approval and certificates.
The diameters specified shall be the size measured at the thin end of the gum pole.
Pole ends will be nailed with anti-split plates.
|A minimum pitch of 45° (but preferably 50°) will be maintained throughout. However, on rare occasions 40° will be allowed over dormer windows only.|
|16mm galvanized thread bar will be used for all major connections.
12mm galvanized thread bar will be used for all rafter connections.
All joints will be drilled and fixed with galvanized threaded bar and no nails will be used for this purpose.
Cross-tonguing joints shall be used on all gum poles which are unobtainable in the lengths required.
|Buildings up to 5.0 meters wide will have 175/200 diameter posts fixed with 16mm thread bar.
Buildings between 5.1 and 6.0 meters wide will have 200/225 diameter posts fixed with 16mm thread bar.
Buildings between 6.1 and 10.0 meters wide will have 225/250 diameter posts fixed with 16mm thread bar.
Buildings over 10.1 meters wide will have 250/275 diameter posts fixed with 20mm thread bar.
All uprights will be spaced at no more than 3.5 meters apart unless a lattice beam system is used (Subject to engineers detail).
|Buildings up tp 6.0 meters wide will have a 150/175 diameter ring beam.
Buildings between 6.1 and 9.0 meters wide will have a 175/200 diameter ring beam.
Buildings over 9.1 meters wide will have a 200/225 diameter ring beam.
|A double ridge pole system will be used.
All buildings up to and including 8m will have 100/125 diameter rafters, spaced at 900 centers or less.
Buildings 8.1 to 12.0 wide will have 125/150 diameter rafters, spaced at 900 centers or less.
All rafters will be secured to walls using a double strand of 4mm wire.
No hoop irons will be used.
|Tie beams will be spaced at no more than 2.7 meters apart.
Tie beams will be used for buildings 10 meters wide or less.
Queen posts will added to King posts for buildings 10.1 meters and wider in addition to tie beams.
|The thickness of all laths at their thin ends will range between 25mm and 38mm and will be nailed to rafters at minimium 250mm and maximium 270mm centres using 4” nails.
Only the first row at the eaves and the last row at the ridge will be at ±150mm centres.
|Only guaranteed frost cured, fully grown thatch grass of the Hyperrhenia Hirta species which has been cleared of all leaf and sheath residue and which is free of mould will be used.
The thatching grass will be beige/yellow in colour and shall have a maximum body moisture of 10% to 15% by mass.
Only straight pieces that have been cut above the first notch will be used.
The grass will be 800mm to 1500mm in length, with the ends ranging from 2mm to 3.5mm diameter.
We will ensure that all seed ends of back thatch (sprei laag) are covered thus ensuring the uniformity of the colour.
All grass stems will be concealed by laths.
We take special care in storing and stacking thatch grass on site, by placing the bundles off the ground and under cover.
Roofs will be thatched to a thickness of between 175mm and 200mm which is measured at right angles to the roof.
All roof valleys will be fitted with galvanized valley liners, or aluminium in coastal areas.
Stitching will be done using a double strand of sisal tar twine with a maximum stitch width of 110mm.
|Thatch at the roof apex will be bent over the ridge of the roof and fixed to the opposite side of the existing gum pole laths.
A cement mixture of 4:1 i.e. 2 wheelbarrows to 50kg bag will be used.
250 Micron plastic will be used as an underlay to the concrete and cut to cover the last stitch of twine only. A minimum space of 100mm will be created at the end of the capping to ensure that the cement mix binds with the underlying thatch.
25mm x 0.9mm netting wire to extend over entire width of capping.
50mm thick cement capping to extend over the last layer of thatch ensuring that the butt ends are secured by the capping (this ensures that birds are unable to pull the thatch from under the ridge). Capping to be floated to a smooth even finish.
Expansion joints at no more than 3 meters apart.
|One needs to understand the technical detail of a thatch roof before you merely let a unqualified Thatcher comb a roof. Every combing process unless properly done, reduces the cover over the sway in other words the functional thickness of a roof and thus lifespan. For functional thickness (see photo 1 below).
The correct procedure is to inspect the general length of the thatch or reed. If found long enough, the next step is to pull down the thatch layers (see photo 2 below).
The binding twine then needs to be tightened on the underside of the roof (see photo 2). Only then can the combing process begin.
It is advisable that this process is well supervised as a uninformed and inexperienced Thatcher will take the shortcut and ultimately destroy the roof.
|Twenty four (24) months guarantee on defective workmanship and materials.|
We chose Biggarsberg Thatchers through numerous references.
Name Surname - project
– The pitch of the roof should be no less than 45 degrees.
– The humidity in the area.
– It depends on the original quality of the materials and workmanship.
– Shadowing from large overhanging trees.
– Proper maintenance by qualified persons. Combing by unqualified persons can drastically reduce the lifespan of a roof.
If all of the conditions are ideal the average lifespan of a thatched roof would be between 20-25 years.
– Hot and dry conditions, approximately every 10 years.
– Humid areas and conditions, approximately every 5-7 years.
– After heavy hail storms the roof should be inspected to determine if maintenance or repairs are necessary. Depending on the severity and extent of the damage this can be claimed from your insurance company.
– Fire blankets.
– Smoke detectors.
Insurance companies will take into account the number and type of preventative measures which have been put in place. Eg:
- Concrete ceilings over kitchens.
- Drencher systems installed.
- Fire blankets installed.
- Early warning systems. eg: smoke detectors.
- Hose reels/fire extinguishers installed in strategic areas around the building.
- Proximity to the closest fire station.
- Natural instulation and therefore saving on electricity bill for both heating and cooling.
- Sustainable materials.
Biggarsberg Thatchers have built various structures and buildings for us and I have always found the quality of the workmanship to be excellent.