This apprenticeship is in development and is subject to change

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Key information

  1. Status: In development
  2. Ticked Proposal approved
    Ticked Occupational standard approved
    Unticked End-point assessment plan approved
  3. Reference: ST0821
  4. Level: 2
  5. Typical duration to gateway: 24 months (this does not include EPA period)
  6. Route: Construction and the built environment
  7. Date updated: 05/09/2019
  8. Review:

    This standard will be reviewed after three years.

Print occupational standard

Details of the occupational standard

Occupation summary

Found in the construction and conservation sector, thatchers create or replace roofs using a dry vegetation such as straw. A thatched roof is sustainable, environmentally-friendly, with a low carbon footprint, and of high insulation value. There are over 100,000 thatched properties in the UK and a large proportion of these are listed, meaning that the roofs must be replaced on a like-for-like basis. Thatchers conserve our heritage, benefitting tourism and the wider economy. New properties throughout some counties in the UK are also being built with thatched roofs, due to planning restrictions requiring a proportion of all new builds needing to be thatched. Thatching work covers commercial, agricultural, domestic, new-build and historic buildings with a variety of differing roof designs and materials. The thatcher needs to have an understanding of the complexities and variants in regional style, materials, maintenance, vermin control and fire safety.. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with clients/suppliers/master thatchers. During the course of a typical job, thatchers may interact with architects, conservation officers, clients and members of the public. Thatchers spend the majority of their time working at height, outdoors and in varying weather conditions.. An employee in this occupation will be involved in jobs from beginning to end from sourcing materials to organising other trades to roof preparation through to final thatching works and clearing of site. Some thatchers may even grow their own straw and make their own spars/liggers. The thatcher will also be responsible for understanding and implementing the appropriate site health, safety and welfare conditions.

Typical job titles include:


Occupation duties

Duty Criteria for measuring performance KSBs

Duty 1 Manage resources ready for use including thatching materials, tools, equipment and vehicles. Check prepared and fit for purpose.

Safe loading, unloading and transporting of tools and materials, completed PPE checklist

K1 K3 K4 K5 K7 K8 K10 K13

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S7 S8 S9 S10 S13 S14

B1 B2

Duty 2 Establish daily and weekly tasks and organise own work with emphasis on efficiency and safety.

Worktime is optimised, wastage of materials minimised

K4 K5 K14

S2 S4 S5

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 3 Establish the suitability of the work area including PPE equipment, scaffolding, ladders and an understanding of how any risk assessment affects them.

Compliance with Working at Heights regulations, outdoor working and suitability of weather conditions

K4 K5 K6 K9 K13

S1 S2 S4 S5 S6 S11 S14

B1 B2 B4

Duty 4 Assess the condition of the roof per agreed works, prepare the roof for thatching, understanding the differences between the different buildings to be thatched.

Evaluate condition of roof and prepare roof for thatching

K2 K4 K5 K6 K9 K13

S4 S5 S6 S7 S9 S10 S11

B1 B2 B3

Duty 5 Preparation of thatching materials including long straw, combed wheat reed and water reed; correct handling, checking and storage.

Materials are correctly handled, checked and stored

K1 K2 K7 K8 K10 K13

S1 S2 S4 S5 S7 S8 S9 S10 S13

B1 B2 B3

Duty 6 Fixing appropriate thatching materials to basic roof structure with correct depth over fixings and adequate tension.

Correct depth over fixings and adequate tension

K2 K4 K5 K8 K11 K12

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S8 S13 S14

B1 B2 B3

Duty 7 Fix appropriate thatching materials to roof features with correct depth over fixings and adequate tensions.

Correct depth over fixings and adequate tension

K2 K4 K5 K8 K11 K12

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S13 S14

B1 B2 B3

Duty 8 Use and maintain thatching tools and equipment; understand their correct use and maintenance.

Understanding the correct use and maintenance of tools and equipment

K3 K4 K5 K8 K10

S7 S9 S10


Duty 9 Manage resources after use, clearing of site, removal of excess materials and storing tools and equipment correctly for future use.

All tools and equipment are stored correctly for future use

K3 K7 K12

S4 S5 S7 S9

B1 B2 B3

Duty 10 Quantifying thatching work and materials with the ability to work out how much material and time is required to complete a thatching job efficiently and safely.

Ability to work out how much materials and time required to complete a thatching job efficiently

K4 K5 K8 K10 K13 K14

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S8 S11 S14

B1 B2 B4



K1: How materials are produced, grown, harvested, stored, prepared and transported inlcuding long straw, combed wheat reed (CWR) and water reed. Recognising the quality variance. Back to Duty

K2: What fixing method is appropriate including spars, screws and wires, crooks, pins, stitching. Understanding of spar production. Back to Duty

K3: The use, maintenance and correct storage of hand tools, associated tools and equipment including ladders. Back to Duty

K4: Health and safety: compliance with working at height regulations, outdoor working and suitability of weather conditions. Manual handling techniques. Why, when and how health and safety control equipment should be used when undertaking thatching work including personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). Back to Duty

K5: The relevant building, conservation and fire safety regulation affecting thatched buildings. Planning instructions, drawings, product information, specifications and how to interpret them. Back to Duty

K6: Understanding of the various building types including historic, new-build, commercial, residential. The sympathetic approach to historic and listed buildings; maintaining the local and vernacular character and techniques. Back to Duty

K7: How to safely load, transport, unload and store thatching materials. How to safely protect thatching materials from vermin and inclement weather. Back to Duty

K8: The selection of appropriate materials for particular thatching work. Back to Duty

K9: How to assess the condition of the roof and to prepare the roof for thatching. Back to Duty

K10: The selection and preparation of thatching materials for installation on the roof for particular thatching work including architectural details and features. Back to Duty

K11: The process of fixing appropriate thatching materials to various roof structures and features and to a competent standard. Back to Duty

K12: The importance of finishing works and projects to an acceptable standard including clearing site of tools, equipment and materials to customer satisfaction. Back to Duty

K13: The assessment of thatched roofs and how to quantify thatching and associated roof works and materials. Back to Duty

K14: Understanding the economics and responsbilities of running a thatching business. Back to Duty

K15: Understanding the methods of adjoining the other materials such as lead, slate, tiles, flat roof, fiberglass, corrugated roof, brickwork and stonework. Back to Duty


S1: Interpret instructions and information to plan, organise and carry out healthy, safe, productive and efficient working practices. Back to Duty

S2: Organise work, obtain and provide information. Ensure work is completed within the economic expectations of the organisation and that wastage of materials is minimised. Ensure that work methods optimise the use of time and that own work is coordinated with relevant others. Back to Duty

S3: Access, interpret and use drawings and specifications to carry out thatching work. Back to Duty

S4: Working safely and effectively with others. Develop and maintain productive working relationships with colleagues on a daily basis, communicate with customers/visitors/colleagues. Offer constructive views and ideas on developing and maintaining productive working relationships. Back to Duty

S5: Work safely, and be aware of key health, safety and welfare issues. Ensure that own work practices conform to organisational requirements, current legislation and official guidance, and minimise risk of injury and ill health to self and others. Back to Duty

S6: Work safely at height and use access equipment. Ensure that own work practices minimise the risk of damage to the surrounding environment, equipment, materials and components. Back to Duty

S7: Use, maintain and correctly store thatching tools and any associated equipment. Back to Duty

S8: Quantify thatching work and materials, and select the appropriate materials for particular thatching work, ensuring that the materials are suitable for intended purpose. Back to Duty

S9: Safely load, transport, unload and store thatching materials. Store materials correctly and give adequate and effective protection against vermin and weather conditions. Ensure materials are accesible when required for use. Back to Duty

S10: Prepare appropriate thatching and fixing materials for installation on the roof including damping and yealming long straw; butting and bundling combed wheat reed; trimming, splitting and twisting spars and rods. Back to Duty

S11: Evaluate the condition of the roof prior to thatching work taking place. Assess condition of existing materials, quality of materials, covering over fixings, condition of fixings, overall thickness of thatch, factors affecting the performance of the roof. Back to Duty

S12: Prepare the roof prior to thatching. Thatch either completely stripped or stripped to a sound base coat, new structures and work surfaces prepared for subsequent thatching. Keep work areas clean and free from debris and other obstacles. Back to Duty

S13: Select the appropriate materials and use correct techniques for the specific requirements of historic or listed buildings. Back to Duty

S14: Establish suitability and quality of materials, and correctly fix the appropriate thatching materials to basic roof structures and features, to a given specification and to correct pitch, tension and density, ensuring correct cover over fixings. Back to Duty

S15: Carry out thatching works where it adjoins with other materials such as lead and brickwork. Back to Duty


B1: Safety-first mindset. Adhere to safe systems of work and relevant procedures including attending all safety briefings and training. Back to Duty

B2: Take responsbility for their own work and standards of work. Be aware of the limits of their own competence and seek advice when required. Cooperate with employers, other employees and site providers to ensure that their competence is maintained and up-to-date. Back to Duty

B3: Show professionalism, be prepared for work, arrive on time and present a positive attitude. Work collaboratively, show respect for others, do what has been agreed and offer assistance to others when help is needed. Be approachable, providing timely answers and explanations. Back to Duty

B4: Continue developing personally and professionally following current legislative and industry regulations and guidelines. Show a willingness to learn. Back to Duty


English and Maths

English and maths qualifications form a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and must be completed before an apprentice can pass through gateway. The requirements are detailed in the current version of the apprenticeship funding rules.

Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: SMF Crouch & Co, Nigel Bunce, Stephen Letch, Brian Chalk, Richard Moore, Andrew Osmand, Dominic Meek, Hallsworth Thatching Ltd, Jack Lewis, Roger Scanlan, Alan Lewis

Version log

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