A leading member of the Steel Window Association has manufactured and installed bespoke double glazed W20 frames for the refurbishment of a former brewery building in South London, with the replacement fenestration fulfilling various technical as well as planning requirements.

West Leigh Ltd carried out the £130K contract on the Plough Brewery, Wandsworth Road, for Marston Properties working closely with specialist restoration architect, McDaniel Woolf in order to satisfy the concerns of local conservation officers.

Not only were the new W20 windows customised to respect the property’s heritage – including bespoke vents, hardware and glazing details – but they also offer much improved thermal and acoustic performance.  In addition, West Leigh’s fitting of the windows had to be completed without disruption to the work of the Plough Brewery’s tenants, who are mainly involved in the fashion and creative industries.

West Leigh produced a total of 80 made-to-measure windows, up to 2200 mm tall where semi-circular heads feature, mimicking the appearance of those believed to have originally been installed when the brewery was built back in 1868.

In order to achieve improved energy performance and to cut traffic noise from the very busy Wandsworth Road, 4-6-4 sealed units were fitted, featuring a soft coat Low-E inner leaf and Krypton filling. This offered a centre pane U-value of 1.2 W/m2 K and full compliance with Building Regulation requirements. The frames were powder coated RAL 7021 Black Grey.

The architect for Marston Properties, Richard Woolf, commented: “Obviously working with the Conservation Officers on a Grade II listed property, they had a great deal of input. It was in trying to achieve the detailed approvals necessary that the steel windows came into their own, harmonising with the building and replicating metal windows from a previous century.

“It is always difficult with a property of this age to be absolutely certain, but from some of the 19th century photographs available, and a couple of frames we found on the lower parts of stairways, they were probably a hybrid of sand-cast iron and timber.”

Richard Woolf went on to explain how the consultation with the client and council led to the inclusion of centre rotating “hopper” vents, identified by analysing the archive material and the earliest frames.  Being allowed to upgrade to double glazing was a significant improvement, but required detailed consideration of the way it would be configured; along with the frame colour and other aesthetic aspects.

Richard Woolf concluded: “We worked with conservation and with West Leigh, to create a suite of windows for this renovation which would be harmonious – and being in steel would work with the authentic cast windows. West Leigh is a wonderful company to work with – they did a terrific job, including the installation which had to be carried out with the building fully occupied; requiring coordination and the erection of temporary screens within the rooms.

“We have had good feedback from the business owners about the service and the reduction in road noise, while Marston Properties was delighted that the Plough Brewery has now received The Clapham Society Historic Building Award.”

While West Leigh is well known in the capital for its involvement in detailed refurbishment, including historic listed building projects, the company is also increasingly branching out into new build work. In fact, its ability to produce windows matching the performance of many PVC-U systems by employing the recently developed W50 section frames has seen the company working on schools, colleges and other public buildings as well as high end residential apartment and other domestic properties.

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