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Article Date: 4th March 2019

Selectaglaze - Stylish Conversion of Three Listed Buildings are Up for an Award

Listed Buildings - University of Reading - Single Glazed Units

Selectaglaze University of Reading’s London Road Campus

A prominent group of three Georgian Listed buildings in Berkshire, including one on the Buildings at Risk register, have recently been converted back into 53 stylish apartments.

The developer, Thomas Homes Limited, has spearheaded the restoration and conversion of the buildings on the University of Reading’s London Road Campus. Thomas Homes specialise in the renovation of buildings in sensitive locations where design and quality are the major concerns.

The most distinguished among them is the Grade II* Listed St David’s Hall, built in the 1830s, which was a former hall of residence and was on Historic England’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register. Also included are St Laurence’s Hall and St Mary’s Hall, both Grade II Listed and a further single storey building which is not Listed in its own right, but encompassed in the curtilage of St Mary’s Hall.

A number of modifications were made to the layout of the buildings to change them into halls of residence in the early 1990s. These included west-east corridors breaking through party walls and the divisions of rooms to provide bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Although needed at the time, the alterations have hampered the historic significance of the buildings.

The fresh conversion of these Listed buildings, by Thomas Homes, had to be undertaken in a considerate fashion and played a major part in restoring them back to their original layout and former glory. The sophisticated one and two-bedroom apartments have been attentively designed to offer an outstanding standard of living. Many of the original features have remained and have been enriched to offer buyers a mixture of classic and modern architecture.

The project demanded that where feasible all the original single glazed timber sashes had to stay. This meant an extensive refurbishment programme and where the windows were beyond repair, replica single glazed units replaced the old.

Selectaglaze University of Reading’s London Road CampusThe planning obligations required secondary glazing to most of the windows in these apartments. With the windows having timber shuttered surrounds, the secondary glazing would sit in these reveals.

The original timber shutters were restored and fixed in position within the shutter box as a decorative feature. Whilst the shutters were removed for refurbishment, a timber reveal was introduced between the box sash and shutter box, onto which the secondary glazing was installed with the correct cavity to achieve the desired dB reduction. Therefore, a full view of the decorative shutters was retained, preserving the historical elements of the structure whilst upgrading the building to modern thermal and acoustic targets.

The main requirement for the secondary glazing was noise insulation from the hectic London Road. There were some perplexing windows, so the developer needed advice on which styles of systems would be effective for a project such as this. The largest windows were 2m wide x 2.7m high and some with arched heads. The secondary glazing had to allow access to the external windows for cleaning and maintenance purposes.

To ensure the apartments were serene and peaceful inside, Thomas Homes sought advice from Selectaglaze to assist in reducing the external noise levels. With fifty years’ experience, Selectaglaze is the leading specialist in the design, manufacture and installation of secondary glazing.

Secondary glazing is fitted internally to the room side of the existing primary windows and is one of the most effective methods of reducing unwelcome noise. With the Royal Berkshire Hospital, the University of Reading and the Oracle Shopping Centre all just a stone’s throw away, London Road’s busy thoroughfare would be a distraction without some effective acoustic insulation. When there is a cavity between the primary and secondary glazing of at least 100mm, a 45dB reduction is attainable. Along with noise reduction, secondary glazing also aids in eliminating unwanted drafts trapping them in an insulating layer. It also reduces heat loss assisting in creating a more comfortable living space.

Over 300 units were fitted to all three of the Listed Buildings, across all floors over a two year period. Four different Series were specified to suit the various reveals and different sized primary openings across the complex. Also the secondary glazing in the bathrooms at St Laurence’s Hall was glazed with obscurity glass for enhanced privacy.

Due to the positive reduction of drafts and outside noise, Selectaglaze was recently asked to return to one of the apartments to fit more secondary glazing. The Series 10 2-pane horizontal slider and the Series 20 vertical slider were fitted as the new occupant was not satisfied with the double primary glazing installed.

Selectaglaze University of Reading’s London Road Campus“Due to needing to not only satisfy strict acoustic targets as part of the planning conditions attached to the Grade 2 Listed project, we also needed to install a secondary glazing product which would work in a sympathetic nature with regards to the existing historical fabric of the building. The product supplied by Selectaglaze went well above and beyond what we had expected from a secondary glazing product by enhancing both the sound insulation from the busy main roads outside and at the same time worked perfectly to display the existing original timber sash windows of which needed to be retained whilst being very non-obtrusive with its slimline frame profiles. This combined with a very efficient installation helped us to achieve all the required targets on a very sensitive historical building.” Thomas Homes.

As secondary glazing is a discreet and reversible adaptation, it is perfect for Listed properties and is widely accepted by most heritage bodies.

As testament to the sensitive restoration, conversion and workmanship to bring these buildings back to modern day use; the development has been chosen as a finalist for the Residential Development of the Year category at the prestigious Thames Valley 2018 Property Awards.

Founded in 1966, Royal Warrant holder Selectaglaze has grown a reputation as a leading secondary glazing specialist offering high performance noise insulation, improved building energy performance, environmental control and certified security. An extensive range of literature and guidance notes is available together with a technical advisory service and RIBA approved CPD seminars.

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