Student accommodation refurbishment

When Manchester-based Excell Trade Frames was awarded the contract to replace the windows in a student accommodation block for the Sanctuary Group, the company set to work immediately on the fabrication of the 1,100 Rehau frames required – as well as a plan to overcome the challenge of installing them in a 17-storey building, without access from inside.
Wardley House is a student accommodation block in the centre of Bradford, providing high-quality, modern living for up to 290 students from the University of Bradford and Bradford College. Located above the National Media Museum, owners Sanctuary Group invested £1.5 million in a refurbishment project to be completed in time for the 2016 academic intake.
The scope of the work included the replacement of 1,100 windows, new lighting, the replacement of the water and heating system, and a facelift for reception/common room areas.
The building’s existing windows were single-glazed, metal frame windows, which were inefficient and in a poor state of repair. The contractor on the job, City Gate Construction, worked with Rehau on a dedicated specification to meet Sanctuary Group’s vision for the refurbishment and the use of Rehau’s Total70 profiles was agreed.
To give a modern, contemporary look, the spec for the Total70 profiles included a grey laminate foil so that the windows and glazing would look completely grey – even with the sun shining on it.
With a factory in nearby Manchester, Excell measured and manufactured all the windows for the job and transported them to site in Bradford. The installation of the windows had to be carefully planned, as this had to be done from the outside of the building.
Eddie McGrath, commercial sales manager at Excell, said: “In a previous refurbishment, false walls had been put up in front of the windows, giving students access to them via a meter square hatch. Unfortunately, this meant that we couldn’t get complete access to the windows from the inside of the building – the only way was from the outside.”
Scaffolding was put up around the building to help with the complex installation. Eddie devised a plan with four teams of fitters, who took out the old metal windows and lowered them to the ground, before hoisting up the 3m2 PVCU replacements and installing them in position. The planning paid off, and Eddie’s team managed to complete a floor every week to finish the installation in just four months.