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The developer hires a traditional craftsman to complete two properties with thatched roofs


Two newly built homes, which will bring back buyers up to £ 473,500, have been topped with environmentally friendly thatched roofs.

For the first time ever, property developer Bovis Homes has crowned two newly built homes in Wells, Somerset with traditional craftsmanship.

They hired a master thatcher Nigel Bunce, 49, who was covered in reeds to show that the historical feature is still in great demand.

Thatching, the craft of building a roof out of materials like thatch and reeds, has been used in residential homes for hundreds of years.

Buyers will have to spend either £ 473,500 or £ 460,000 to live in either of the two thatched houses.

Britain's largest real estate developer, Bovis Homes, has crowned two newly built homes with traditional craftsmanship for the first time in Wells, Somerset

They commissioned a master Thatcher Nigel Bunce (49) (picture) to cover the property with reed, which shows that the historical feature is still in great demand.

They commissioned a master Thatcher Nigel Bunce (49) (picture) with the reed covering of the property, which shows that the historical feature is still in great demand.

Thatching, the craft of building a roof out of materials like thatch and reeds, has been used in residential homes for hundreds of years.

Thatching, the craft of building a roof out of materials like thatch and reeds, has been used in residential homes for hundreds of years.

The thatch is a centuries-old tradition and the roofs became typical of traditional rural scenes across Britain. But its use gradually decreased from the late 19th century – which was eventually seen as a sign of poverty.

The renewed interest in straw began about three decades ago and is now a symbol of prosperity. Many homes in affluent areas like the Cotswolds now have eco-roofs.

Thatched roofs are also said to be popular with people interested in preserving historic buildings and using more sustainable building materials.

Green construction has been used extensively in Great Britain over the past three centuries.

Nigel, who thatched the Bovis Homes properties, is one of around 1,000 Master-Thatchers in the UK and started learning the craft 31 years ago

Nigel, who thatched the Bovis Homes properties, is one of around 1,000 Master-Thatchers in the UK and started learning the craft 31 years ago

Buyers will have to spend either £ 473,500 or £ 460,000 to live in either of the two thatched houses

Buyers will have to spend either £ 473,500 or £ 460,000 to live in either of the two thatched houses

Green construction has been used widely in Britain over the past three centuries and is used as good insulation

Green construction has been widely used in Britain over the past three centuries and is used as good insulation

Mick Arnold, construction director at Bovis Homes, said this is the first development Bovis has thatched a plot of land and praised the work of master craftsman Nigel

Mick Arnold, construction director at Bovis Homes, said this is the first development Bovis has thatched a plot of land and praised the work of master craftsman Nigel

The thatched roof tradition and how it's done

In the picture: a small thatched house

In the picture: a small thatched house

Thatching is a centuries-old tradition in Britain, with quaint thatched cottages often associated with rural English scenes.

The process involved harvesting, drying, and layering vegetation such as thatch and reeds to create a thick waterproof roof.

Straw is used all over the world, and thatched roofs are typically used on site available materials.

In Fiji, for example, they use palm leaves to cover structures.

During their stay in England, Thacher used materials such as straw, reeds, rushes and heather – and packed them in tightly packed layers.

These layers trap air inside, which means that thatched roofs are not only waterproof but also act as insulation.

A roof ridge, typically using brick, is placed on top of the seam along the roof top to prevent water from entering along the seam.

It usually takes up to three weeks to build a thatched roof in England.

Each roof can last up to 50 years, but the roof ridge needs to be replaced at least every ten years to remain watertight.

There are around 1,000 Master Thatchers working in the UK today and their services are widely used to preserve historic buildings.

Other developers have chosen straw as a sustainable building material, including a British council that used it to build cheap public housing.

North Kesteven County Council, Lincs. built six semi-detached houses from 500 bales of straw in 2009 to reduce construction costs and meet energy consumption targets as straw is known for its exceptional heating properties.

At £ 60,000, the three bed properties cost £ 20,000 less than a traditional home and are indistinguishable from normal homes because of their lime washed walls.

The practice is still used today, and straw was used in the construction of a luxury eco-friendly home in Scotland called the Jill Strawbale House.

The property in Strontian, near Fort William, uses the straw bales as its main form of insulation and gets most of its power from two micro-hydropower generators – that is, it exports five times more electricity than it imports.

Nigel, who thatched the Bovis Homes properties, is one of around 1,000 Master-Thatchers in the UK and started learning the craft 31 years ago.

He said, “I absolutely love my job. It is wonderful to see the transformation happen when the roof is opened, as you can see such a change in the building in a relatively short time.

“I have two employees who enjoy working for me and I enjoy passing on my knowledge and experience to them in order to keep the craft alive.

“I've worked on a number of projects in the past, from historic buildings to more contemporary developments. I respect traditional methods while applying new techniques is so important.

"It was great to thatch some new houses and they look really full of character."

Nigel added that a property typically takes three to six weeks to complete, depending on its size and design.

& # 39; He used water pipe for the straw and Dutch tiles to plug the top of his two most recent lots.

Mick Arnold, Construction Director at Bovis Homes, said: “This is the first development where Bovis has thatched a plot of land.

& # 39; Nigel grows his own wheat cane and is a member of the Somerset Master Thatcher & # 39; s Association and the National Thatching Straw Growers Association. His passion for the craft was evident and we wanted to work with him from the start.

“He's very skilled and the thatched roofs in Priory Fields give him real character while also providing excellent insulation.

“Using sustainable and traditional construction ensures that the new houses blend in with the surroundings and it's great to see the thatched roof houses finished.

& # 39; Nigel grows his own wheat cane and is a member of the Somerset Master Thatcher & # 39; s Association and the National Thatching Straw Growers Association. So his passion for the craft was evident and we wanted to work with him from the start.

“He's very skilled and it's great to see the final thatched house finished. The property is now on the market and looks beautiful so it won't be available for long. & # 39;

Thatched roofs have become synonyms for rural scenes across the UK and are made from natural materials such as thatch or reeds

Thatched roofs have become synonyms for rural scenes across the UK and are made from natural materials such as thatch or reeds

Any thatched roof can last up to 50 years, but the roof ridge must be replaced at least every ten years to keep it watertight

Any thatched roof can last up to 50 years, but the roof ridge must be replaced at least every ten years to keep it watertight

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