Increasing acoustic requirements are becoming the norm when it comes to school specification. Here, Allan Barr, UK Sales Director at Technal, explores how early engagement with an architectural aluminium systems provider can facilitate an effective and adaptive approach to product selection right from the pre-contract phase.

 

With increasing pressure in terms of student intake, schools are becoming busier and noisier, which makes controlling external and internal noise and the resulting acoustics even more important. This problem is exemplified by the current trend of designing open learning spaces, which also contributes to a louder environment. Unwanted noise is not just intrusive and distracting, but its negative impacts can be detrimental to health and general well-being. Scientific studies have shown that poor acoustics also lead to lower productivity and slower learning.

Ensuring the correct approach to acoustic design

Whether it is a school or university campus accommodation, any project’s first action should be a site investigation with an acoustician who can conduct a detailed survey, measuring the noise levels incident on the projected footprint, at multiple points and at different times. It is important to recognise here the very complex nature of sound, with different components and frequencies that lie within the pressure spectrum to the decibel scale. All such sounds can be lessened through careful detailing of glass, air gaps, interlayers and frame components.

Each level of the school building should be assessed to determine the degree to which the façade system and its glazing elements must be specified, considering the minimum attenuation required to deal with the noisiest periods. For the design process, official guidance regarding acoustics is provided by BS 8233: 2014 along with documents including LEED or BREEAM, which are widely regarded as the most holistic measure of a property’s environmental credentials.

 

University of Manchester’s Schuster Annexe, which had an acoustic focus at the core of its design

 

Avoiding acoustic bridges

When selecting and specifying the materials for the project, it’s important to understand how the control offered by different materials, or elements to the envelope, can be affected by interconnections or the surrounding structure. The phenomenon known as flanking noise refers to the energy waves that pass over or around, rather than directly penetrating a barrier. This can be particularly distracting and impede learning for students as sounds from the hallway, outside the building, or other classrooms could directly travel into classroom spaces. Although an insulating glass unit or architectural glazing system may offer good acoustic insulation, noise can still pass between spaces.

 

The window, door or curtain walling system should be carefully selected to prevent sound waves being transmitted through pressure plates frame profiles, joints, brackets and anchor points. Flanking noise can therefore be reduced greatly by careful detailing, such as acoustic infills to mullion and transom profiles and creating additional acoustic barriers between the frame and floor slabs.

 

In a similar manner, airtightness is also very important for acoustic insulation. Any gaps in the building fabric will allow air leakage, which also represents an acoustic breach. It is therefore essential to ensure the window, door or curtain walling system chosen features an effective acoustic seal for guaranteed air tightness. To balance the creation of more airtight envelopes, controllable background ventilation needs to be addressed, under Part F of the Building Regulations.

 

The selection of glass type and double or triple glazing

The choice of glass type and dimensions, including that of the cavity, impacts dramatically on the level of acoustic performance that is achieved. Industry standard double glazing will deliver in the region of a 30dB to 35dB reduction in sound against normal passage through air.

 

This can be improved upon significantly through specifying thicker panes and special acoustic grade glass, and widening the cavity or by introducing secondary glazing: which can generate a 40dB or greater reduction.

 

For enhanced acoustic performance, the inclusion of a laminate interlayer could also be considered – potentially also improving thermal efficiency and safety – or perhaps to go from double to triple glazing. These options also need to be reviewed in terms of on-site, lifting and lead-time logistics and, of course, cost.

 

Tapping into supply chain expertise

With so much to consider, involving a systems manufacturer that has access to an established network of fabricators and installers with an abundance of experience, is going to make a big impact on the project. This means accurate costing and certainty of delivery, avoiding expensive design changes and delays during the construction programme.

 

An experienced architectural aluminium systems provider, such as Technal, with a comprehensive product portfolio, will be able to work collaboratively to create accurate interface details, prepare specifications and project-specific testing where appropriate. For example, other building component suppliers’ products can be introduced to further enhance system specification such as insulation, and also enhance fire resistance and thermal performance.

 

Additionally, Technal has added to existing resources like its accredited acoustic test laboratory through the development of sound calculation software, which allows available data to be used. Using a blend of laboratory test results, computer simulated predictions and actual site data, a strong evidence base can be compiled to optimise the selections, ensuring they perform efficiently acoustically. This will also provide the most sustainable solution, which typically avoids having to add cost through site-specific system testing.

 

By adopting a collaborative, cohesive approach from the beginning, recommendations from the systems manufacturer can contribute to tighter cost control, fewer on-site issues, improved programme certainty and continuing client confidence.

 

For more information, please visit: www.technal.com/en/uk

The Window Company (Contracts)’ extensive experience in the schools sector helped the award winning* installer secure the replacement window contract at Loyola Preparatory School in Buckhurst Hill, Essex.

 

Recommendations came not just from other nearby schools, but even from other subcontractors who had seen the company’s fitting teams in action and had been impressed with the standard of work.

 

As a result, Loyola’s bursar Maria Rosario had high expectations of what the company could deliver on the contract and was delighted when they lived up to those. She explained: “From the outset, The Window Company (Contracts) made us feel that we were in very safe hands.

 

“From giving us good advice on which products to choose, to sticking rigidly to a timetable which ensured that all work was carried out in the school holidays or at weekends, they handled the whole project really well.

 

“We saw senior members of the team throughout the contract which meant we always felt that our installation was important to them and we were assigned a single site manager who ensured that everything ran smoothly throughout.”

 

She added: “What was particularly impressive about their approach, and what highlighted their experience in this sector, was their ability to anticipate problems which occurred during the installation and put in place solutions before we had even become aware that there was anything wrong. As a result, I have had very positive feedback from all the staff here and have absolute confidence in the after sales service which we will receive.”

 

The Window Company (Contracts) acted as the main contractor on the project, installing Smarts aluminium windows and doors in all the 1960s built parts of the school, as well as carrying out external redecoration and fitting new panels featuring the school’s name and crest. The team advised Loyola on the window and door specification required to deliver on the key criteria which was improved safety and security, as well as ensuring that they were thermally efficient.

 

One of the key benefits for customers who choose to work with the Chelmsford based installer is that it is completely independent of any systems house or fabricator so can advise on exactly the right material and product for every application.

 

For David Thornton, Chairman of The Window Company (Contracts), the installation at Loyola Preparatory School had a particular significance. He added: “My son Martin actually attended the school way back in the 1970s. I certainly didn’t imagine then that we would be getting his school fees back in 2019!”

 

More details are at: www.thewinco.co.uk

 

*The Window Company (Contracts) won the G-Awards Installer of the Year title in 2018, 2015 and 2014.

When architectural glazing specialist, Dortech, required a curtain walling system that could fit the performance and aesthetic requirements for the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC), Technal MX62 curtain walling system was specified.

 

Designed by architects Simpson Haugh and Reiach and Hall, the EIC is being built for the University of Central Lancashire by BAM Construction, a major player in the education sector. Dortech is providing a design, manufacture and installation package for all of the curtain walling on the five-storey structure.

 

As a key part of the masterplan for the Preston campus, the £32 million EIC is due to open next year, providing the university and Lancashire based manufacturers with state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. It is expected to help train an extra 500 graduates, including an increased number of female students, gaining degrees in subjects such as mechanical, energy technologies and aerospace engineering.

 

Throughout the project Dortech faced a number of technical challenges including; the building’s proximity to a very busy roundabout, the floor to floor heights, physical security, and the expected levels of solar gain; as well as design detailing requirements.

 

Having a total glazed area of 3,100 m2, the MX62 curtain wall carries over 40 different types of IG units, measuring up to 1050mm wide by 4450mm high, and weighing 260 kg; without requiring additional frame reinforcement. As well as standard cappings and accessories, the design solution includes the use of 200mm long extended square cappings to the vertical frame elements and soffit.

 

High density foam inserts were utilised along with decoupling joints in the mullion sections to achieve 50 Dnfw flanking sound reduction, as well as 37 dB sound reduction for noise from outside the building. The IG units vary in thickness from 31.8 mm up to 38.8mm, with the latter containing a 10mm CoolLite SKN toughened outer leaf, and 12.8mm clear laminated glass for the inner leaf, separated by a 16mm argon filled cavity.

 

In addition to achieving high levels of thermal insulation, being fabricated from aluminium, the MX curtain wall frame elements can be upcycled, helping the building to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent.

 

The Project Manager for BAM Construction, Simon Atkinson, commented: “We proposed the use of the Technal curtain wall system as part of our value engineering proposal for the project. It offers the best value for money in terms of its cost and performance while meeting the aesthetic requirements. This is in fact a continuation of the successful partnership established with Dortech, Technal and the cladders at the University of Liverpool Materials Innovation Facility, helping to build our reputation in delivering education sector projects.”

 

Project Architect Chris Walker at SimpsonHaugh added: “This has been a demanding project, but the Technal system along with Dortech’s experience and professional approach has enabled us to meet all of our design aspirations for the elevations including the resolution of some difficult fire and acoustic details. The curtain walling is a large part of the Architecture of the EIC with the main façade onto Corporation St consisting completely of the Technal system and aluminium extrusions by Dortech. The results so far are fantastic and we are excited to see the building complete in January 2019”.

 

Technal is part of the Hydro Group, a world leader in aluminium solutions that also encompasses sister brand WICONA. Through its globally renowned Hydro Technology Hubs, the group is shaping a sustainable future, with innovative products that satisfy and surpass customer expectations, in line with demands of CSR and increasing environmental regulations.

 

For more information, please visit https://www.technal.com/en/uk/

Focused on public sector projects in Wales and the North-West, fabricator, Bretton Architectural is celebrating 25 years of working with Hydro Group and its Technal systems through its involvement on Phase II of an architecturally acclaimed student accommodation development in Liverpool.

 

Constructed within the Mossley Hill Conservation Area, the parkland surrounding the University of Liverpool’s Greenbank student residences was gifted to the university by the Rathbone family in 1939; still offering a unique environment today. Crucially the designs by Shepard Robson for the new buildings, including the use of MX curtain walling and other Technal systems, respond sympathetically to the verdant setting.

 

The Greenbank residences replace outdated buildings and have been arranged around three landscaped courtyards, rising from five to eight storeys in height, creating 1,370 new en-suite study bedrooms. The main contractor for the scheme, which is due for completion soon, is the University of Liverpool Construction Company Special Projects (ULCCO SP), while – following on from successfully completing Phase I, North West based Bretton Architectural is supplying Technal products for Phase II.

 

Its package includes the design, manufacture and installation of some 2,000 m2 of MX curtain wall, FY65 windows and PY doors, all offering high thermal performance and finished in a RAL 7016 Matt Anthracite Grey polyester powder coat.

 

The windows on Phase I comprised a mix of top hung outward opening, and tilt-and-turn units, all featuring multi-point locking with locking espagnolette handles and restrictors that allow ventilation yet provide safety from falls. The thermally broken frames and 28mm gas filled IG units provide a U-value performance of 1.0 W/m2K.

 

The MD of Bretton Architectural, Peter Igoe, commented: “We have been awarded the Phase II contract for the Greenbank Residences based on our performance during the first phase, and the competitiveness of our quote. ULCCO SP has proved a very good, very professional client to work for, while education projects like this, hospitals and other public sector buildings form a major part of the work we do across North Wales and the North-west of England.

 

“Bretton Architectural was set up in 1993 and we have used Technal systems since the very beginning: enjoying excellent cooperation and support from the company.”

 

The Design Manager for ULCCO SP, Thomas Alexander, offered his perspective on the project saying: “This is the third contract where we have worked with Bretton Architectural and Technal, having originally delivered the Management School Extension on campus after the University of Liverpool took the unique step of setting up its own Special Projects division, ULCCO SP.

 

“They have all gone well but one of the key features we agreed on Greenbank was for all of the curtain walling and windows to be procured ahead of time – to be stored at Bretton’s premises – rather than relying on ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing. This has not only avoided the sort of delays that had caused problems for schemes historically, but also avoided storing sections and glass on site: having loads of lay-down areas. This helps keep the site clean and safe and is a procedure we would probably use again. With the university having a 20-year masterplan, there is the prospect of further cooperation in the future.”

 

Project Architect Luke Green added: “The materials, scale and massing of the design have been developed to reflect both the character of the conservation area, and the distinctive mature landscape of the Greenbank site. The overall effect is of a series of distinct blocks with a shared architectural language that balances modernity with contextual references, allowing improved sightlines into the park landscape, and reinforcing the setting of Greenbank House.”

 

Technal is part of the Hydro Group, a world leader in aluminium solutions that also encompasses sister brand WICONA. Through its globally renowned Hydro Technology Hubs, the group is shaping a sustainable future, with innovative products that satisfy and surpass customer expectations, in line with demands of CSR and increasing environmental regulations.

 

www.technal.com

Over 630 Sobinco Chrono aluminium tilt and turn window systems with SF Xtra trickle vents from Titon have been installed at three student accommodation blocks at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The new, contemporary designed halls of residence contain over 450 large single en-suite rooms, as well as shared kitchen/lounge areas. Named after past professors from the University (Anna MacLeod, Mary Fergusson and Muriel Sparks), the new student accommodation opened on the Edinburgh campus in September 2017.

The three buildings were designed by Fletcher Joseph architects and built by leading UK construction group Watkin Jones, with Glasgow-based company Marshall Brown (Windows) Limited responsible for the fabrication of the windows.

Commenting on the accommodation project, Brian Ross, Commercial Manager at Marshall Brown (Windows) Limited, said: “We opted to use Titon having previously fitted their hardware on numerous projects. As a company, their products and services are second to none. For the Heriot-Watt University buildings, both the Chrono and SF Xtra vents offered ease of fabrication, while the tilt and turn systems are robust, as well as easy to maintain and replace. Plus, as they utilise plastic rods, there is no risk of corrosion, which is excellent from a reliability perspective.”

 

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Titon’s SF Xtra is a high performance, surface mounted aluminium slot ventilator. It is the shortest trickle vent on the market to provide 5000mm² EA, making it suitable for domestic and non-domestic applications. There are two width variants, one for use over a 13mm slot, the other for a 16mm slot.

The vent is also available in made-to-measure sizes or bar length for self-assembly, with all versions suitable for use with either a plastic or aluminium canopy.

Sobinco Chrono fast-fit hinge and locking systems are suitable for most aluminium link bar profiles. They are suitable for virtually all variations of open-in window, with options available for high-security and French casement. A standard tilt and turn units can be assembled in around five minutes, greatly reducing fabrication time, while a choice of handle designs and attractive RAL colour finishes are also available.

Titon has been the exclusive UK distributor for Sobinco for nearly 40 years, supplying tilt and turn window systems, pivots, catches and handles, as well as locks, lift-slide systems, roller assemblies and handles for doors.

For more information about Titon and its range of window & door hardware and ventilation systems, visit: www.titon.com

Over 630 Sobinco Chrono aluminium tilt and turn window systems with SF Xtra trickle vents from Titon have been installed at three student accommodation blocks at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The new, contemporary designed halls of residence contain over 450 large single en-suite rooms, as well as shared kitchen/lounge areas. Named after past professors from the University (Anna MacLeod, Mary Fergusson and Muriel Sparks), the new student accommodation opened on the Edinburgh campus in September 2017.

 The three buildings were designed by Fletcher Joseph architects and built by leading UK construction group Watkin Jones, with Glasgow-based company Marshall Brown (Windows) Limited responsible for the fabrication of the windows.

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Commenting on the accommodation project, Brian Ross, Commercial Manager at Marshall Brown (Windows) Limited, said: “We opted to use Titon having previously fitted their hardware on numerous projects. As a company, their products and services are second to none. For the Heriot-Watt University buildings, both the Chrono and SF Xtra vents offered ease of fabrication, while the tilt and turn systems are robust, as well as easy to maintain and replace. Plus, as they utilise plastic rods, there is no risk of corrosion, which is excellent from a reliability perspective.”

Titon’s SF Xtra is a high performance, surface mounted aluminium slot ventilator. It is the shortest trickle vent on the market to provide 5000mm² EA, making it suitable for domestic and non-domestic applications. There are two width variants, one for use over a 13mm slot, the other for a 16mm slot.

The vent is also available in made-to-measure sizes or bar length for self-assembly, with all versions suitable for use with either a plastic or aluminium canopy.

Sobinco Chrono fast-fit hinge and locking systems are suitable for most aluminium link bar profiles. They are suitable for virtually all variations of open-in window, with options available for high-security and French casement. A standard tilt and turn units can be assembled in around five minutes, greatly reducing fabrication time, while a choice of handle designs and attractive RAL colour finishes are also available.

 

Titon has been the exclusive UK distributor for Sobinco for nearly 40 years, supplying tilt and turn window systems, pivots, catches and handles, as well as locks, lift-slide systems, roller assemblies and handles for doors.

 

For more information about Titon and its range of window & door hardware and ventilation systems, visit: www.titon.com

When it comes to comes to being qualified to deliver high performance fenestration solutions for the education market, Senior Architectural Systems’ recently extended PURe® range of aluminium windows and doors puts the company at the top of the class.

Already a popular choice in the education sector thanks to its robust construction and exceptional thermal performance, Senior’s patented PURe® range now includes the new PURe® Commercial Door – the company’s largest and most flexible door system to date.

Ideally suited for use in medium to high traffic areas where frequent access is required, the new PURe® Commercial Door is available as a standard, electronic-locking and panic-exit system and with a wide variety of door stiles, allowing it to be specified in a multitude of different configurations and design options. Designed to perform up to a maximum leaf size of 1400mm x 3000m and 180Kg, the robust PURe® Commercial door system can achieve U-Values as low as 0.94 W/m2 K when calculated as a CEN Standard door and is able to receive double or triple glazing from 28-60mm for maximum thermal and acoustic performance.

Senior also has a number of supply chain agreements in place with key main contractors working in the education sector. The company’s extensive range of aluminium doors, windows and curtain walling systems has been widely specified for use on primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and student accommodation schemes across the UK.

Senior’s thermally-efficient PURe® windows in particular have become a popular choice with main contractor Bowmer & Kirkland (B&K). After being successfully trialled by B&K in 2016, Senior’s innovative window solution has now gone on to be specified on over 30 projects as part of the company’s delivery of the Education Funding Agency (EFA)’s framework contracts, including the Brixton Hill Education Campus in Lambeth. Comprising three separate colleges, the new five-storey campus at Brixton Hill in Lambeth was subject to strict planning requirements owing to its close proximity to the neighbouring Grade II Corpus Christi Church.  Designed by Jestico + Whiles to complement the aesthetics of the local architecture and meet the performance demands of a modern educational facility, the new-build campus features the extensive use of Senior’s PURe® aluminium windows, installed by MB Glass Ltd.

 

www.seniorarchitectural.co.uk