Despite the competitive nature of the window sector, differentiation is being achieved by companies with the ability to provide technical support throughout the design process. With fenestration accounting for up to 40 credits of the 119 available in BREEAM assessment, the value of a specialist manufacturer’s technical input is becoming increasingly significant.
Aluminium profile manufacturers are enjoying increasing volumes of business for window fabrication, and in particular for products used on flat and low pitch roofs. This owes much to the material’s versatility and growing competitiveness, but also to its strength which enables slimmer sight lines and consequently larger glazing areas to be achieved. When viewed from within a building, this provides an unobtrusive appearance of a system which is virtually frameless.
Choice of colours has been greatly extended to meet virtually any bespoke requirement, both from an external and internal perspective. Modern powder coating techniques have enhanced standards of durability with a consequently positive effect on design life. Shades can be produced to blend seamlessly with other elements of the roofscape or to complement interior design. The result has been specification of aluminium for increasingly diverse projects across the client spectrum, from prominent commercial clients in the public and private sectors to ‘high end’ residential projects.
Flat roof windows and rooflights, once renowned for offering poor thermal efficiency and limited choice, have benefitted from considerable technical advancement. Recent designs have provided a combination of contemporary and traditional elegance and high thermal efficiency. Products such as the Kestrel Aluminium Flat Rooflight system have been developed to meet the increasingly demanding and varied needs of specification. It is easy to install as, unlike most bonded rooflight systems, the glazing unit can be removed in the event of damage or failure. This is possible through use of a PVCu cassette to which the glass is bonded and which, in turn, is mechanically fixed to the frame.
Designs typically extend to fixed, ventilation and egress versions, the former also offering scope to provide sufficient load bearing capacity to withstand constant foot traffic. This not only enables the living space to be transformed into usable space but the roof deck too. In terms of egress, options are available for opening up to 700 using built-in gas springs and espagnolette locking. Stepped edge units also reduce the potential for glass breakage through thermal fracture.
In terms of lantern rooflights, developments have led to the introduction of systems which are not just stylish but meet the needs of modern house construction and retrofits. Using sustainable materials and methods of manufacturing, products such as the Kestrel Thermal Lantern System are ideal for installers as no compound mitre cuts are needed. Corner joints are formed using mechanical cleats which, with the aid of punch tooling, provide strong, neat and secure joints. This also makes transportation and manual handling of materials onto the roof far easier than ever before. With added thermally efficiency and a distinctive visual aesthetic, it uses ‘fuss-free’, low-line ridges and round-edged glazing bars. Ideal for flat roof conversions, extensions and orangeries, hip and glazing bars are supplied pre-machined to fit neatly against the eaves profiles. The latter also offers the benefit of a render stop, allowing internal finishes to be brought up to the underside of the rooflight to provide a neat finish. Only one cut is needed to achieve the correct bar length before assembling each hip / glazing bar, thereby reducing fabrication time. and there is no need for welding or jointing. By increasing the glazing area a lighter feel is created from within the underside of the lantern.
Ever tighter building schedules are increasing pressure on delivery times, making a ‘just in time’ approach to manufacturing impractical. Maintaining stock of the extensive range of roofing profiles, the ability to manufacture bespoke sizes and provide support throughout the design process can, therefore, make a critical difference to any project. The earlier such engagement takes place the greater the benefits tend to be.
A Cross, Kestrel Aluminium Systems
180 Rupert Street
T: 0121 333 3575
T: 07976 269880