Remote installation

Installer Alan Gicquel needed to swap his van for a boat in order to replace the timber-framed windows for three remote island properties.

Les Ecrehous is a small archipelago of islets located six miles off the north east coast of Jersey, and just eight miles from mainland France. Declared a RAMSAR site in 2005 to protect the habitat of the many species of birds and marine life that live there, the islands themselves are also home to a handful of houses.

The island houses are former fishermen’s cottages now used as holiday homes, but their unforgiving sea location means that maintaining the properties throughout the year can be challenging.

Over the last 15 years, Jersey installer Alan Gicquel has replaced the windows in all but one of the properties that stand on Les Ecrehous, changing the old timber frames for new PVCU alternatives from Rehau.

“The holiday cottages on the islands are in a fantastic location, surrounded by picturesque scenery, great fishing waters and an abundance of wildlife,” Alan said. “However, because they are in the middle of the open water, the homes are constantly being battered by corrosive seawater and winds and this makes them difficult to maintain, especially during the winter when they aren’t occupied.

“The windows in particular suffer from exposure to the elements, and in winter they are actually boarded up to protect them.”

When the residents from Les Ecrehous approached Alan about upgrading their windows to something that would be cost effective, easy to maintain, and hard wearing against the elements, he suggested Rehau.

“We started on one of the smaller houses first, just replacing three windows and a door, and this led to a bigger assignment working on the adjacent house to replace 12 windows,” Alan said. “A few years later, we were then called back to the islands to do a third property. By this time, Rehau had launched its Total70 profile, which is an easy swap for old timber frames because of the 70mm width.”

Alan and his team needed to get a boat to the islands, balancing the material load securely and then getting the profiles and the glass up the stony beach and rocks to the houses.

“The glass, sealed units were the biggest challenge as we couldn’t put them down anywhere until we got into the house,” Alan said. “We also needed to plan the job really carefully, making sure we hadn’t forgotten anything because for the larger jobs, we had to stay on the island while we completed the job over a number of days.

“All in all, the Les Ecrehous installations have been our most challenging to date purely due to the logistics, but they have also been the most satisfying and we are very proud to have been a part of the preservation of this very unique corner of Jersey’s landscape.”