Before designing your thatched roof or lapa the following should be taken into consideration:
1. Consider carefully in which area of your property the roof or lapa will be erected.
2. Assess the ground area where the roof or thatched lapa will be constructed for underground water pipes, power cables, irrigation pipes, etc. as this can play a role when planting poles in the ground for supporting the roof.
3. If building work needs to be done it needs to be done before commencing with the erection of the roof or lapa. It is extremely difficult to do building work after the thatched roof or lapa has been erected and it affects the roof structures stability and strength. Decide beforehand where the braai facility,washing area, counter, bar area, fridge area, seating and any other fixed structures will be situated.Further plan the lighting, floor covering and decide on the final finish on the pole structure, do you require a matt or a gloss finish? Where the roof is to be erected on walls and beams or columns the following should be considered:
a.) That the substructure of CCA poles and foundations are capable of supporting the roof
b.) That the roof structure exerts vertical and horizontal forces, due to wind forces and dead weight, on its supports, and thus the structure must be designed in the correct manner.
c.) An architect or structural engineer can be contacted to assist in this regard.
4. When deciding on the size of the thatched lapa or roof, take into consideration the space available and how many people will make use of the facility.
5. After determining the size of the lapa or roof you should decide where the entrance/s would be and how high and wide they will be, as this will affect the design and shape of the lapa and roof.
6. To determine the overhang required on the roof and where arches will be constructed take sunrise and sunset into consideration and the view you require from underneath the roof.
7. Who will design the lapa or thatched roof and are there any guarantees on the design as supplied by a structural engineer.
8. A Proper roof plan showing sections, supporting walls, columns, foundations, connections, dimensions and the specifications of the material that will be used is highly recommended, as this will also assist in accurate costing and tendering.
a.) For small lapas or thatched roofs (less than 50 m²) it is not always useful as a simplistic design is normally followed.
b.) For houses, lodges and other commercial projects it is a must as these projects are seldom simplistic and differ in size, shape, design and many other aspects.
9. Who will draw the plans for the roof as required by the local authorities? Contact us for a draftsman who can assist you.
10. The distance from other buildings as this affects the fire hazard of the planned roof.
11. Contact insurance companies and get detail on premiums and requirements for lowest premiums. Determine what influences premiums and what is needed for a claim to be paid out.
12. Will the elevated area due to the 45° pitch be used, as this can affect the design of the support structure of the roof?
13. A competent person who knows the National Building Regulation’s legal requirements on structural strength, stability and safety should check the design of the roof structure.
14. It is recommended that a structural engineer or an architect inspects and certifies the completed structure, as there is not yet a design code specifically for pole connections.
15. Depending on where the structure is build and the size of the structure a fire certificate may be needed by your local authority
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