Bats in the….Roof?

31st Jul 2020

Here at Aspect Group Services, from time to time we encounter issues that can cause disruptions to our work. These disruptions are mostly weather-related and don’t need much additional explanation, but from time to time there are other elements at play.

Bats in the news

Recently the proposed £153 million Western Link road in Norwich was postponed due to the location of a colony of Barbastelle Bats.

Bats and bat roosts are protected by law and can cause delays to planned works.

With the high interest recently, we thought it best to learn more about them, so we got up close and personal to gain a better understanding of how these amazing mammals exist and how we can help them.

Our experience

We recently had a talk on-site at our Head Office in Wymondham, and as a result of these came away with a new understanding of these special creatures and how we can safely work around them.

Key things we at have to be aware of when going into a :

  • Remember that bats and their roost are protected by law!
  • Check with the owners/ tenants if they have any knowledge of bats being present
  • Age of the building – traditional buildings are more likely to have existing roosts
  • Location of the building – is it near Lakes, Rivers, Churches
  • Types of materials on the roof – Cladding, Pantiles, Under Leadwork, Loft Spaces

How to recognise bat activity.

Bat Droppings – smell of Ammonia which will crumble into dust when pressed between your fingers

Feeding droppings – will be more scattered which may mean that the bats are not roosting – butterflies wings and spider carcasses

Roosting droppings – will be piles of droppings and likely to be under ridgelines

If you find perished bats in the summer it will likely mean that they are juvenile and would indicate that there is a maternity roost nearby.

Most chance of seeing bats will be between May and September.

Dealing with Bats

Soon as evidence of bats is present, all works must stop immediately and the BCT National help-line should be called by the homeowner (0345 1300 288) initial visits are free to determine the course of action.

  • Normally BCT will cover the cost for mitigation if the works are not over more than half of a roof.
  • Full surveys can take a minimum of 2 weeks and up to 3 weeks where they will determine the numbers and positions of the bats. From which they will advise the best course of moving forward i.e. providing the correct licencing and mitigation procedures.
  • The surveys will normally take place 30 minutes before dusk for 2 hours and just before dawn lasting for 2 hours.
  • Only the approved type of suitable underlay may be used where bats are present. This is Type 1F Bitumen Felt which bats can accommodate suitably (Standard felts cause the bat’s feet to get caught and then damages the weatherproofing of the underlay).

Reducing the chances of Bats roosting in your roof

The most effective method of this at the moment is to use interlocking tiles, this dramatically reduces the chances of bats inhabiting the roof below.

However, they are not a suitable replacement to an already occupied roof due to being required by law to ensure that bats can retain existing roosting positions.