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Thermal upgrade is not a pane

04 July 2012

One of Birmingham’s most prominent Grade A office buildings is currently undergoing a major window replacement project. GLASSOLUTIONS is significantly upgrading the thermal performance without altering the external appearance of the building while business continues as normal for its occupiers.

Fifty4 Hagley Road comprises two tower blocks which are linked at ground level with a communal reception, services such as a café and main entrance doors. The taller of the two towers is 17 storeys high and the other is eight storeys.

One of the key strands of the current refurbishment work, due for completion in September 2012, is the replacement of 1600 windows to the two tower blocks. The existing windows were installed when the building was constructed in the 1970s so offered enormous scope for thermal improvement given the advances in glazing technology over the last four decades.

With the refurbishment work being carried out while the building remains fully operational for existing tenants, it has been vital from the outset to ensure the safety and security of building users and keep disruption and noise to an absolute minimum.

GLASSOLUTIONS was awarded the fenestration contract by construction project management consultants Buro Four. Its brief includes acting as principal contractor and providing full site management duties including risk assessments, liability insurance, provision of all safety fencing and signage and operation of plant and such as cranes and mast climbers.

All windows are fixed lights and span floor to ceiling height with large double glazed units – the largest of which are 1m wide by 2.2m high. This maintains unbroken sightlines externally so retains the original vision of architect John Madin, who was renowned for his Brutalist architecture across the West Midlands.

Thermal performance is complemented with proven weather-tightness. The project demanded superior resistance to the weather including extreme wind loadings due to the high rise nature of the towers.

The project perfectly illustrates how the thermal performance of a notable commercial building can be transformed without any change in the external appearance – something which is vital for iconic and listed buildings.

Important too is the fact that GLASSOLUTIONS has been able to complete the work without significant disruption to the day-to-day operation of tenants. And in the longer term, the landlord, Mercia Real Estate Ltd will benefit by this refurbishment work adding value to the building and delivering a financial return on investment.


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