Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass has been instrumental in saving costs and reducing maintenance requirements at a social housing development in Lingfield. Grove Road is typical of thousands of social housing developments throughout the UK. Owned and managed by Tandridge District Council, it comprises 24 flats in two three-storey blocks. In 2005, a window improvement programme was initiated and Tandridge DC set about investigating the most cost effective and practical solution to the seemingly straightforward issue of window replacement. This solution presented itself in the form of Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass, which was installed in 19 of the 24 flats still under the jurisdiction of the council.
Constructed in the 1960s at the height of the social housing movement, the blocks were originally fitted with metal windows. With the evolution of PVCu as a fenestration material, PVCu window frames were subsequently installed over 15 years ago. Although the vast majority of the profiles were still in good condition, the glazing and hinges needed upgrading. In addition, the windows were all single glazed, and not compliant with the requirements laid down by recently revised Building Regulations. Finally, with the onset of more stringent Working at Height directives, cleaning had become a major task. Rather than replace the profiles, which was an expensive option, Tandridge decided to replace the glazing, all hinges, handles and security devices and renew all seals and gaskets.
Specialist contractors, Prima Service Ltd were commissioned to design a new bead to make the system work and to accommodate the Pilkington Activ™ glass.
“Using Pilkington Activ™ externally with Pilkington K glass fulfilled all requirements,” comments Geoff Thompson of Tandridge Housing Department. “We undertook a cost comparison between replacement and upgrading and the latter was the most cost effective option. Also, with the windows at Grove Road proving very difficult in terms of cleaning and maintenance, we decided that the Pilkington Activ™ option with its self cleaning properties was a viable resolution.”
The PVCu frames were left intact while the double glazed Pilkington glass units and new window hardware were installed. Twelve months on, and the Grove Road blocks are benefiting from reduced maintenance and cleaning costs.
“Social landlords for blocks of flats like Grove Road are increasingly calling for cost effective solutions for window systems that have now reached the end of their useful life,” explains Ian Spokes of Pilkington. “Many PVCu, timber or metal profiles that were fitted in the 1980s, were not double glazed and do not meet the current legislative requirements for thermal and energy efficiency. Tandridge DC was reluctant to invest in expensive new reversible window systems, so replacing the existing low specification glass with the Pilkington Activ™ higher performance product was the most cost efficient way of significantly improving efficiency and improving the comfort of the tenants.”