Clearview Midlands April 2014 - Issue 149 - Page 44

DOORS&WINDOWS PVC-U and Grade II can go together Mark Tetley and Martyn Haworth, Directors of Bison Frames, look at how the quest for energy efficiency and genuine period aesthetics resulted in the company’s new Genesis vertical slider. For many homeowners, when it comes to windows, PVC-U has become synonymous with energy efficiency. This is a testament both to our industry’s innovation in developing such advanced products and to intelligent marketing that has succeeded in embedding the concept in homeowner’s minds. But for some properties, the choice of window can come down to the material they are made from rather than practicality, energy efficiency or aesthetic appearance. Nowhere is this more true than for owners of period homes, especially those with listed building status or in some conservation areas. The PVC-U industry has, however, come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and the new generation of heritage-look windows increasingly offers authentic traditional style that sits well in period settings with all the added advantages that PVC-U can offer. Yet despite this, when it comes to Grade II listed properties and dwellings in some conservation areas, PVC-U is often a no-no and timber seen as the only acceptable material. This is something that we’ve long wanted to challenge, so when we were approached by the owner of Russet Cottage, an 1830s Grade II listed building in Blackburn to replace the windows with our standard welded PVC-U vertical slider we knew we were in dangerous territory - but 44 APR 2014 we also knew we had to take this opportunity to make some changes. Working with our client, we sought the advice of the planning officer from the start. We took time to understand what could be done to follow their guidelines so the significance of the listed building would not be harmed as well as listen to their objections to using a PVC-U product. By listening carefully we soon realised that some of his objections were more than valid, expressing his concerns towards the detail of the mock sash horns on a standard PVC-U vertical slider and the welded joints associated with most PVC-U windows. Armed with this, we developed a vertical slider that would overcome these objections and be accepted or at least considered for use alongside timber in some Grade II listed properties and conservation areas. The result was the Genesis VS and we are delighted to say that it was accepted for use in Russet Cottage, allowing its owner to benefit from energy efficient, low maintenance windows and period looks. So how does the Genesis VS differ from a standard PVC-U vertical slider? The biggest difference is NO welded joints. We realised that, although PVC-U vertical sliders had many of the features of a traditional timber sash, by using welded corner joints, they would always look like PVC-U windows. In order to overcome this, we needed to get rid of the welded joint element and replace it with traditional timber jointing methods. After months of research, development and rapid prototyping we eventually commissioned bespoke tooling and injection moulds that have enabled us to create a PVC-U window that uses traditional timber jointing methods. This traditional appearance is complemented with period look, high security cam locks and sash buttons, run through sash horns and a deep bottom sash rail as standard, making the Genesis VS the most authentic looking PVC-U vertical slider on the market. We are delighted that our PVC-U Genesis VS was accepted with open arms as an alternative to timber in Russet Cottage which demonstrates that some Grade II listed buildings and conservation areas needn’t be no-go areas for PVC-U. We aren’t advocating that PVC-U windows should be accepted for use in every instance: some properties are listed because they have architectural and historic merit and deserve to be sensitively restored and maintained. We ARE saying that high quality heritagestyle PVC-U windows such as Genesis VS should be allowed to stand alongside with timber and considered as an option. Homeowners should have that choice. We feel so strongly about this that we have started a campaign aimed at English Heritage and local planners to ask them to take high quality PVC-U windows as well as timber into consideration when the homeowner is looking at replacement windows. If you would like to join, sign up at: https://you.38degrees. To read more, visit