Taxing issue updated

An office building once used by HM Customs and Excise is being transformed from a dull and dated office block into luxury apartments, as part of a project being delivered by Tustin Developments.

The stark lines of the 1960s building, located in the Lancashire seaside town of Lytham St Anne’s, are being replaced with balconies and winter gardens, all drawn together with modern rendered facades, large sections of glazing, and aluminium-effect Rehau windows and doors.

Tustin Developments recently started exploring development opportunities in the conversion of office buildings to residential properties.

Andrew Roberts, managing director at Tustin Developments, said: “Petros House had stood empty for five years and already had planning permission to convert it into residential accommodation, so we were delighted when it came on the market as we could see its huge potential. The previous owners had drawn up plans for the conversion into apartments, which our architect worked with to create an adventurous new vision for the 1960s building.

“From the outside, the building was very dull but structurally it was sound, so we decided to keep the floor slabs, support columns and stairwells intact and completely transform the front facade with large expanses of glass, private balconies and winter gardens. We used Rehau curtain walling, which is very on trend and gives the building a wow factor, but on a practical note it also ensures each apartment is flooded with light – a big draw for modern homebuyers.”

The plans for the development – now named Tustin Heights – include 35 one and two-bedroom luxury apartments plus a residents’ gym on the ground floor.

To achieve the glass front effect incorporated into the architect’s plans, Tustin Developments required curtain walling across large sections of the building.

Andrew was asked to investigate both aluminium and PVCU alternatives for the curtain walling, however he had some reservations about whether PVCU products would be structurally equal to aluminium.

“Our main concern with the PVCU curtain walling was that it wouldn’t be strong enough for the large sections of glazing we needed for the scheme,” Andre said. “But when we spoke to Rehau and [installer] Per-Fit to discuss the Polytec 50 system, we discovered this system, as well as being a thermally efficient sub-frame, was also reinforced with steel to make it structurally very sound.”

Rehau’s Polytec 50 uses a composite system, with aluminium external cover caps, steel for structural strength, and PVCU for all internal surfaces/profiles. Polytec 50 has also been certified as suitable for Passivhaus projects and zero carbon buildings thanks to its U-value of up to 0.8W/m²K.

Mike Fish, senior estimator at Per-Fit, said: “We did some cost-engineering with the specification for the curtain walling, windows and doors using a selection of Rehau products. The quote came in significantly cheaper than the aluminium alternatives, and all without any drop in performance.”

Per-Fit recommended a smooth anthracite foil for the PVCU products. As well as giving a more contemporary finish, akin to aluminium, one major advantage of using white PVCU windows with grey foil on the outer surface is that the inside facade is still white, making it bright and clean for residents.

The project is due for completion in autumn 2018.