The benefits of replacement, energy-efficient aluminium windows and doors for school renovations include savings on energy bills while providing a bright, secure and comfortable learning environment explains Russell Wallbank, Architectural Project Manager at window and door system supplier Schüco.
A pool of water on a window sill or a blind flapping in a cold draft are the tell-tale signs that a window has reached the end of its life. While you may not need an expert to tell you a window has failed, it is worth talking to an expert when it comes to selecting the best value product for its replacement. Often, a school will employ a building surveyor to assess the problem. They will then contact a window and door system supplier, such as Schüco, for advice on the most appropriate and cost-effective replacement.
A reputable supplier will select the most suitable product from their range. This may involve visiting the school, writing a specification for the job, producing preliminary window drawings and even recommending an approved fabricator and installer.
One concern often raised is whether planning permission is needed when replacing a failed window or external door. Generally, planning permission is not required, providing the aesthetics are not being changed significantly and the replacement window and door’s thermal performance is equal to or better than the unit it is replacing.
While planning permission may not be required, replacement windows and doors must comply with current Building Regulations, which apply to the unit’s thermal performance and other areas such as safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation.
A big advantage of using a leading system supplier like Schüco is that a school will benefit from a quality, cost effective solution. For example, it is good practice to ensure the new window provides at least the same amount of natural light as the one it is replacing because high levels of natural light reduce the need for electric light, saving energy, while aiding students’ concentration.
Ventilation too is important. Additional opening units can often be added without significantly changing a window’s appearance. Window systems can also incorporate passive or active ventilation to ensure outside air can always enter the classroom, even with the windows closed.
Furthermore, where solar gains are likely to cause overheating, the glazing can be treated with a heat-reflective coating. Or, if the budget and the planners allow, you can also install other methods of solar control offered by Schüco, such as external louvre blades or brise soleil.
Often the best solution is to replace failed windows and doors with units made using a thermally-broken aluminium frame and energy efficient double glazed units, such as Schüco AWS 70 SC. These will have a significantly better thermal performance to improve classroom comfort in both summer and winter while helping reduce the school’s heating bill.
When replacing external doors, particularly in high traffic areas, these will need to be robust and high quality units, such as the Schüco GFT 50 entrance system. Replacement doors may need to comply with the Equalities Act 2010, which means they should have a low threshold and be wide enough to allow wheelchair access. It is worth pointing out that, should an external door opening need to be widened, planning permission may be required.
Replacement fire exit doors need to be secure yet easy to open in an emergency. Door hardware therefore needs to be positioned so as to ensure ease of operation. In fact, all windows and doors should be fitted with high security hinges and locks complying with Publicly Available Specification 24 (PAS 24) or with Secured by Design.
Schüco offers the seamless integration of door and window systems for schools. For example, the AWS 70 SC window system can be combined with the Schüco GFT 50 external door system for high traffic areas which includes an anti-finger trap solution.
For more information on Schüco systems visit the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01908 282111 and ask for Russell Wallbank.