The Abbey Hill Academy in Stockton-on-Tees is an educational establishment for students aged 11-16 with learning difficulties and disabilities.

The learning environment is never more critical for such students and since the Horizons Specialist Academy Trust became custodians of the school in 2013 refurbishments have been taking place to restore the 1970’s building.

In addition, to heating and hot water upgrades and a new roof, the striking walkway that had a rooflight canopy was replaced and upgraded to enhance the exterior aesthetics of the building. The unusual shape of the building meant that the upgraded rooflights allowed a greater degree of light into the body of the school enhancing both the practical elements and also pupil and staff wellbeing due to the increased availability of natural light.

“The rooflight canopy had definitely seen better days and was no longer fit for purpose having been exposed to the elements for so many years,” said Jim Lowther Sales Director Xtralite. “We were able to specify the latest rooflight technologies to replace the existing ones to ensure a quality restoration was undertaken.”

Four 20m x 2.2m, one 9 x 2.2m and other elements were all fitted from the X-Span range of products, a thermally enhanced self-supporting rooflight. All were double glazed with a toughened outer and laminated internal glass.

“Glass is a good choice for atria, canopies and walkways and in this situation allowed the almost exact replacement of product albeit by those that are far superior,” said Jim. “Furthermore X-Span complies with BS6399 system Part 1 (Code of Practice for dead and imposed loads), Part 2 (Code of Practice for wind loads) and Part 3 (Code of Practice for imposed/snow loads) delivering a premium solution of aesthetics and practicality.”

Further information can be found by visiting or by calling 01670 354 157.

A stunning new retirement village which is due to open in the summer of 2019 has benefitted from a series of rooflight solutions from leading manufacturer Xtralite.

Wixams Retirement Village near Bedford, is owned and operated by Extracare the same company who’s Lark Hill Retirement Village was featured in the 2018 Channel 4 series of ‘Old People’s Homes for 4 year old’. The purpose built village will provide 230, one and two bedroom apartments for the over 55’s in its six acre green field setting.

“This is an exciting project that we were delighted to work on as it provides alternative lifestyles for those approaching or nearing retirement age whilst encouraging community and social engagement,” said Jim Lowther sales director Xtralite. “Great thought has gone into the design of the building and the inclusion of extensive rooflights ensures areas of the building are flooded with natural light which has been proven to improve wellbeing, especially during the darker months.”

Three sections of the construction project benefitted from Xtralite roofing solutions and its X-Span range of product. One area being the Winter Garden residential area which is a single glazed atrium over a five storey building and includes louvered ventilation.

The Village Centre roof itself benefitted from argon filled double glazed panels and was thermally enhanced to elevate the comfort of users in the central atrium of the village, the location of health spa, bar, gym and other communal facilities. Its design is visually striking creating a focal point merging visual aesthetics and practicality. This area also had smoke vents fitted to meet smoke ventilation building regulations.

Both were sizeable installations measuring over 40m in length and up to 12m in width highlighting how X-Span is entirely versatile and can encompass varieties of style, design and ventilation to fulfil both aesthetic, safety and ventilation demands and legal requirements.

Finally, the self-supporting trapezium styled entrance canopy had single glazed panels from the X-Span range creating a striking visual effect upon arrival at the village.

Mark Jarman Senior Project Manager at Galliford Try commented; “Xtralite has a good reputation in the industry for quality products and reliability and this was important to us when choosing our structural glazing specialist . Pleasingly, the process concerning Xtralite was seamless and we are very pleased with the finished elements of the project.”

X-Span remains a popular choice of glazing system. Capable of utilising glass, or lightweight lumira and polycarbonate. In the case of Wixams, glass was used for its clarity and far superior sound attenuation.

“X-Span is a great looking and very practical choice for atria, canopies and entrance ways and was ideally suited to the situations in this particular project,” said Jim. “In addition to practicality and the visual aspect it also complies with BS6399 system Part 1 (Code of Practice for dead and imposed loads), Part 2 (Code of Practice for wind loads) and Part 3 (Code of Practice for imposed/snow loads) delivering a premium solution of aesthetics and practicality.”

Further information can be found by visiting or by calling 01670 354 157.


A historic building in the seaside town of Whitley Bay has undergone a radical renovation and development programme restoring it to its former glory.

Spanish City, which was constructed in 1910, has been given a new lease of life as part of a coastal development plan driven by North Tyneside County Council. Its unusual name is reputedly borne from the ‘Toreadors’ concert party who played on a temporary stage in what was then home to Rockliffe Rugby Club between 1904 and 1907. To protect their audience from the inclement North Eastern weather, canvas and wood awnings were built and painted to look like a Spanish Village and the rest, as they say is history.

Fast forward to the 21st century and the £10m investment has seen the restoration of original features along with modern extensions and the wonderful rotunda atop the building has been beautifully brought back to life as a focal point of the project. The ceiling of the central space has been removed from the ground floor to allow visitors to see the iconic dome and the architectural detail.

“We are proud to have been able to supply products to this stunning project which will rejuvenate the heart of this seaside community,” said Jim Lowther sales director Xtralite. “Our rooflights will allow visitors to make the most of the lovely sea views and have integrated seamlessly into the heart of the building with ease, balancing practicality and aesthetics perfectly.”

Xtralite supplied products from its X-Glaze range which incorporated a series of self-supporting 37.5mm double glazed units with dimension of 4.92 metres wide and a slope length of 2.52m pitched at 5° 7 units covering an area of 86.78 sqm.

The Double Glazed Glass units were made up of 10mm thick Guardian SunGuard 70/35 toughened solar control outer pane, 16mm Argon filled cavity with black spacer bar, 11.5mm thick clear heat strengthened laminate with Ionomer interlayer and black boarder to give building users greater comfort. Practically, the units were fitted directly to the builder’s kerb and resulted in a 1.2 W/m²°K Ud value (relating to the glazing units only).

Andrew Coleman, Senior Project Manager at Robertson Construction, main contractors for the project commented; “It was important to flood the building with as much natural light as possible and to capitalise on the lovely sea views afforded from certain aspects of the building. Balancing comfort, aesthetics, building regulations and thermal efficiencies can be tricky but the reputation and reliability of Xtralite products allowed us to fulfil all requirements. Supply was efficient and technical information and support was readily available allowing us to stay on track with our timescales to meet the launch deadline of summer 2018.”

Jim concluded: “This is a prime example of how modern products can be used in historic restoration programmes to great effect sympathetically embracing the fabric of the building but making it fit for its new intended purpose.”

X-Glaze is just one of a range of glazing and rooflight products offered by Xtralite.

Further information can be found by visiting or by calling 01670 354 157.

The national BIM (Building Information Modelling) library has proved hugely successful to architects and specifiers for both new build construction and retro-fit renovation projects with a wide variety of products available.

Now, a leading rooflight manufacturer has added a range of its products to the library so that this important element of allowing natural light into buildings, providing ventilation, and complying with associated standards and regulations can be addressed at the time of specification.

“BIM is a very useful tool and one that we are proud to be associated with,” said Jim Lowther, sales director Xtralite. “We appreciate the importance of the tool during the specification process and how it supports the digital construction process delivering greater efficiencies and flexibilities in building design.”

Many products, including Xtralite’s X2 range, are featured with National NBS BIM library which also includes all technical specifications such as UV ratings, dimensions and suitability statistics.

“Detailed architectural specification can be achieved at all stages of projects now and BIM permits those specifications to be amended with ease to ensure client, construction, historic property considerations and industry regulations are adhered to,” said Jim. “The range of products we offer through this facilitate a number of solutions to roof lights requirements and full technical details are provided to aid specification.”

The range of products available are from the leading X2 range which allows specification for differing roof insulation thicknesses that historically have proved problematic.

“Our X2 range offers greater flexibility with its unique design but also addresses requirements for increased sustainability and building performance,” said Jim. “Our involvement with BIM re-enforces our commitment to working with all sectors of the construction industry to promote better building design both aesthetically and practically.”

Further information can be found by visiting or by calling 01670 354 157 or visiting