Opportunities in conservation

By Kurt Greatrex, sales director of Dekko Window Systems.

Once, conservation areas presented installers with a problem: the costliest, most traditional timber windows or nothing. Products that are difficult to clean and too expensive for most homeowners.

Then, a few years ago, Eclectic Systems unveiled Residence 9 – a product that blazed a trail with its sleek, elegant lines and incomparably authentic vintage looks. For the first time, timber-effect actually looked like timber, and it spurred massive growth in the conservation-specialist glazing sector.

So, what makes R9 the best window product for conservation areas? It starts with Article 4 – the strict guidelines governing what windows can be used on traditional properties and in the most historic areas.

It is essentially asking for an extremely traditional timber window but a lot of homeowners don’t have the time or the resources to buy, install and maintain that kind of labour-intensive product. With Residence 9, Eclectic Systems came up with a clever solution.

The aim was simple: to produce a window that exactly matched the ideal dimensions laid out in Article 4, but do so using materials that were virtually maintenance free – state-of-the-art PVCU, delivering top-of-the-line thermal, acoustic and security performance, and an authentic timber-effect finish that doesn’t flake, swell, warp, or need any sanding or painting.

The ground-breaking flush sash window was 100mm, with nine chambers and A+-rated energy efficiency. It was designed to accommodate the most thermally efficient 28mm double and 48mm triple glazing, allowing it to achieve U-values of 1.2W/m2K double-glazed, surpassing British Building Regulations requirements, and just 0.8W/m2K triple-glazed, enough to meet Passivhaus standards.

In R9, you’ve got a window that’s virtually indistinguishable from the kind of traditional timber original that conservation officers prize, in one of the most modern, high-performing, user-friendly packages around – making it the perfect product to help installers make inroads into the lucrative heritage market.

Already, there are more than 8,000 installers offering products in conservation areas across the country, and that number is growing all the time. The last decade might have seen an explosion in the number of vintage-look timber-alternatives on the market – but R9 is still the only one that so closely replicates the exact specifications laid out in Article 4, effectively the conservation officers’ bible, and the one with by far the biggest chance of being cleared for use in historic areas.

Traditionally, planning authorities have been sceptical of non-timber products for projects in the most sensitive areas – but as more and more councils learn about the kind of modern vintage-effect solutions that are now available, we’re seeing a gradual shift in attitudes, meaning that there’s never been a better time to start offering the UK’s best traditional-look flush sash window system.

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