Top marks for school windows

When the longstanding timber windows at a local Gateshead primary school began to come to the end of their life, the installers and fabricators needed to work with minimal disruption. Rehau explains.

Located in Low Fell, Gateshead, and built in 1896, Kells Lane is a mixed-sex primary school with 429 pupils. When the school needed new windows, Gateshead Council wanted to replace the old timber windows with new ones that were energy-efficient, secure, and low maintenance while sympathetic to the surrounding conservation area.

Following a competitive tender process, Hadrian Window Systems was awarded the contract for the supply and installation of the replacement vertical sliding sash windows. Hadrian chose Roseview to make these windows, which were manufactured using Rehau PVCU profile.

The windows needed to be sympathetic to the original timber window design while improving performance. Heritage Rose double-glazed vertical sliding sash windows were specified, and since they use 28mm glazing, compared to others which use 24mm, they offer better energy efficiency and good acoustic performance ratings compared to other PVCU windows.

The project also required additional non-standard, vertical sliding sash windows to be specially manufactured to match the existing windows that they were set to replace. As some of the frames contained tall window arches with triple astragal bars that create a sunburst effect for the building’s occupants, the fabrication requirements became increasingly complex.

Mike Bygrave, sales and marketing director at Roseview said: “We make recommendations and produce windows based on the specific project details, and Kells Lane was no exception. In this case, the specification needed to consider the school’s proximity to a conservation area, and the fact large, more intricate window designs were also included. Consequently, any solution we provided needed to take these concerns into account, which is why we recommended our Heritage Rose model. As our close partnership with Rehau spans decades, we trust in the quality of their profile so were very confident any frames we provided would fit this project’s specific requirements.

“We find that PVCU from Rehau offers a number of benefits, including that they are easy-to-maintain, are long-lasting, and provide excellent energy efficiency and acoustic performance, which is why they remain an attractive solution.

“Additionally, because we test all of our fully fabricated windows independently, on top of Rehau’s market-leading profile testing, we can further improve upon these key assets to offer the best possible window.”

189 Rehau vertical sliding sash windows were fitted by Hadrian, and 40 replacement casement windows were required for the toilet blocks and external wellways, which the installer manufactured inhouse, with Rehau profiles.

As this project was to be carried out during term-time, ongoing works needed to cause minimal disruption. Due to size of the windows – measuring 1,200mm x 3,300mm and weighing in excess of 150kg – they had to be split into separate frames and coupled together on site. To ensure school activities during the day remained undisturbed, these product deliveries and joining activities occurred outside teaching hours.

David Carr, quantity surveyor at Hadrian Window Systems, said: “The size and weight of the windows meant two installers were required to manoeuvre each frame into position, so good ease-of-fit was a must when using an external scaffold and a telehandler.”

The whole project was carried out over five phases, running from July 2020 to January 2021. Each phase was linked to the building elevations and was planned so that one classroom was released at a time.

Chris Martindale, project development officer at Gateshead Council:, said “We were extremely impressed with how smoothly this project ran from the beginning to completion, especially given the complex circumstances involved.”