Fireproof Thatch Roof for Zoo

Virginia Zoo in Norfolk will be getting a new roof for the replica African hut in the interpretive center. The thatch roof caught fire after it was struck by lightning approximately a year and half ago.

According to the city’s invitation to bid, The Interpretive Center is a replica of a large circular African hut is 40 feet in diameter with a 30 foot high peaked roof. The roof was constructed using heavy timber round wood poles and covered with natural thatch.”

Difficult to Repair Thatch

Stating that the old roof was costly to maintain, the natural thatched roof and eucalyptus poles will be replaced with synthetic thatch and pressure treated poles. The original roof materials had to be imported from Africa, and it was difficult to find people that were skilled in thatching.

The existing roof structure is to be completely removed and replaced with new heavy timber due to the extensive fire damage. The damaged thatch roof will be replaced with a new synthetic thatch roof system which will last longer and be flame resistant.

Sealed bids will be accepted at the, City Hall Building, 810 Union Street, Norfolk, VA 23510 City or Norfolk Public Works Department; Contracts Office, Room 700, 7th floor until 3:00 p.m. Thursday, October 18, 2012.

Drawings of the building and more detailed information for the invitation to bid can be found at the website

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