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Flagpoles for your church or place of worship; a guide to repairing, replacing, and installing a flagpole

3rd May 2022

The use of flags at churches and other places of worship

Flags symbolise unity and common purpose, with the Union being the most commonly flown flag on UK buildings. It is no surprise that flags are commonly flown at places of worship across the UK, including churches, mosques, and synagogues.

As the UK’s leading authority of flagpoles and the only UK manufacturer of glassfibre flagpoles, we undertake many projects on behalf of churches and other places of worship. Often, we are approached as we are the only UK supplier equipped to take on the specialist nature of the job.

This is especially prevalent amongst churches that are older and fit into the listed buildings or historic buildings category. We are frequently involved in projects that have challenges with access or where sensitivity and engineering know-how is required to deal with ageing buildings so as not to impact the integrity of the building itself.

Listed buildings can often present challenges from an installation and preservation perspective, and it is in these instances, it is essential to consult an experienced flagpole engineer. For further advice on choosing a flagpole for a historical building, read this article: Five challenges to overcome when choosing a flagpole for a historical building.

As well as manufacturing and installing flagpoles and flags, we also provide specialist maintenance and repair services. However, churches, mosques, and synagogues can take steps to ensure their flagpoles and flags remain in good working order.

Flagpole maintenance for places of worship

From a visual appearance and safety perspective, flagpoles and flags must be regularly maintained and inspected. It is a legal requirement for organisations to ensure that their flagpoles are regularly inspected, and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires a ‘Maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risk to health’ guide.

These inspections can be carried out by the person responsible for the building with the right know-how. However, it is highly advisable to consult a flagpole specialist should you have any concerns over the safety of your flagpole, or if your building has an ageing or custom-built flagpole solution. For example, where winches and mechanical components are used, these will need a regular inspection from a professional.

We advise that flagpoles are inspected annually as a minimum and after adverse weather conditions and high winds. Flags should also be lowered when the wind reaches 35kmph or stronger. Use this wind speeds guide as a reference point. 

Following high winds and stormy conditions, we recommend that flags and flagpoles be inspected for damage though all flags should be lowered as per our previous point. It is expected that flagpoles located in coastal and high ground will require more frequent inspection. Due to this extra strain they are put under we recommend extra-strong flagpoles be installed

Harrison Flagpole glassfibre flagpoles come with a 5-year warranty offering unrivalled strength and quality and industry-leading standards. The Harrison Flagpole warranty statement can be viewed here. You can also find a comprehensive list of maintenance recommendations for glassfibre flagpoles here.

Repairing damaged and replacing dated poles

Our flagpoles are designed to last, and in many instances, this can be decades. The better care that is given to the flagpole product, the longer it will last. That said, there comes a time when they will require repair or completely replacing. Whether a repair will suffice or a complete replacement is required. In these instances, it is safest to engage a qualified engineer who will be able to carry out an initial inspection, report on the problem, and offer the best solution swiftly and professionally.

The nature of flagpoles often means scaling heights and handling heavy equipment. With difficult-to-reach locations, additional equipment such as a hoist or cherry picker may be required to inspect, repair or replace. This is when self-installation can be tricky or even dangerous, even for 3rd party construction suppliers. We are instructed by many construction firms and architects across the country to undertake tricky and specialist flagpole projects., often tackling jobs that other suppliers simply can’t undertake.

From our extensive experience, we find that many historic buildings have a wooden flagpole in situ, which require replacing with a more robust and longer-lasting option. View our range of UK manufactured glassfibre flagpoles.

Installing or replacing a flagpole for the first time

If you are planning to install a flagpole in your church or place of worship, there are various things to consider; planning permissions, laws about flag flying and flagpole type.

Planning permission

In terms of planning permission for flagpole installations, planning permissions allow one flag attached to a vertical flagpole on the roof of a building – a popular location for churches and other places of worship. As well as on the grounds of a building, so long as the flagpole does not exceed 4.6 meters in height from ground level. Anything outside of this or of multiple flagpoles wanting to be installed then expressed consent must be obtained from the Local Planning Authority. For further clarity on UK rules on flying flags, read this article.

Flag flying rules

By law, you do not need permission to fly the following flags in the UK:

UnionSt George’s flagSt Andrew’s flag, any historic county flag within the United Kingdom, any island, borough, county, parish city, town or village within the United Kingdom, and this should cover the requirement for most places of worship. Including the flying of diocese flags. It is only when a building wishes to fly a flag for advertising or promotional purposes that it falls within ‘Advertisement Regulations’. However, this is highly unlikely in the case of places of worship.

For further clarity on UK rules on flying flags, read the UK Government guide on flying flags: Flying flags: a plain English guide.

Choosing your flagpole

The unique nature of places of worship means that sometimes standard flagpoles will not suffice. We find that many churches and places of worship require an extra heavy-duty or ultra-heavy duty flagpole as it is often at height.

In some instances, a wall-mounted solution is advisable, but this can depend on the attachment on the inside of the parapet.

It is also essential to ensure that the walls themselves have sound structural integrity and can take the weight. Especially relevant for historic buildings, it is also advisable that you seek guidance from the diocese advisory community if it is listed.

As standard, if we are instructed to install a flagpole, we always survey the site to ensure the installation is not just possible but also safe. For example, if we do need to utilise a cherry picker or lift access, then access to the building on the grounds is possible. You can find out more information on our Installation and maintenance services here.

For more specialist advice on flagpoles for your church or place of worship, contact our expert team.

Harrison Flagpoles are the leading flagpole authority and the only glassfibre flagpole manufacturer in the UK. Harrison Flagpoles are also Constructionline Gold accredited. This award demonstrates our safety and quality standards as a supplier to the construction industry.

Sources:

Union Flag flying guidance for UK government buildings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Flying flags: a plain English guide – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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Gill Shipsides Commented:

26/05/2022 @ 15:08

We are seeking a flagpole replacement for our Church Tower at St Gennys Cornwall. Can you please advise. Current pole has to be lowered each time flag is raised and is supported by tension wires to cornners.

harr_flag_poles Replied:

28/06/2022 @ 11:34

Thanks for your message about a church flagpole replacement. We have passed your details on to one of our team to contact you.