How Not to Proof for Seagulls – Why it Pays to Use a Specialist.

In view of our experience with all aspects of bird proofing, we were asked for our opinion about a proofing job completed about 4 years ago by another contractor.

In total 3 substantial buildings, one with an exceptionally large flat roof, which had been netted to prevent seagulls landing and nesting.

A coastal location in the North East, therefore subject to some extreme weather conditions, with seagulls an ever present problem.

Sadly the initial bird proofing has now failed, hence we were called in to survey and provide a solution.

Incorrect Netting

The actual netting that had been used was the wrong size to stop seagulls, being 50 mm rather than the 75mm needed. As a result of using the wrong size of net, there were a number of dead seagulls which had clearly been trapped by the netting and died as a result. A very clear breach of the law, leaving the owners liable to prosecution.

Failed Seagull Bird Proofing

Undermining Roof Integrity

The roof itself is covered with Sarnafil membrane to provide a water tight seal – however the previous bird proofing contractor had drilled fixings through the membrane to secure their net. Not only does this defeat the whole purpose of a water tight seal, but would also invalidate any guarantee provided by the manufacturer.

To make matters worse, they had also simply cut away sections of the Sarnafil using a knife, and placed 2 or 4 concrete slabs in these gaps.

Failed Seagull Bird Proofing 4

Inadequate Support and Dangerous Installations

There was no counterbalance system in place, which meant the netting had simply collapsed and broken away in the middle sections.

Although some of the fixings used were of high quality stainless steel, they weren’t finished properly, meaning the netting simply fell away.

Just to top it off, 2 concrete slabs had been placed on a leading edge parapet, unsecured and presenting a very real danger of falling 3 storeys through a glass roof if dislodged.

Some of the fixings were secured to the lightening conductors on the roof – made life easy when fixing, but a highly dangerous practice.

Failed Seagull Bird Proofing 3

Our Recommendations for a Safer Solution

Our overall findings were that the existing netting measures were not fit for purpose, illegal and represented a very real health & safety risk.

We recommended removing all of the existing netting and proofing and starting again. We would re-use some of the stainless steel fixings where possible.

We would then refit the net using our specialist bird control/proofing team, which has decades of experience.

Our plan included:

  • Using the correct size netting to deter seagulls
  • A counterbalance system to prevent ‘sagging’ in the middle of the roof
  • Doing the work in sections rather than trying to get the whole roof in one
  • Get a specialist contractor to work alongside us to repair the Sarnafil membrane and hence prevent any future problems

This was a hard lesson for the owners, as the initial fit wasn’t cheap costing many tens of thousands, not to mention all the other potential problems this has and could cause in the future.

About Abate Pest Management

Abate Pest Management is a company that specialises in providing effective and sustainable pest control solutions. Our team of highly trained professionals is equipped with the latest technology and techniques to provide high-quality pest control services to their customers. If you are looking for a reliable and effective pest control service, contact our friendly team today on 0800 980 9767 or email us at