Glass act for high rise refurbishment project

// the building envelope

The first tower block to be built in Paisley, West Scotland, is to undergo partial refurbishment, using ultra lightweight external cladding from Chromatics Glass Ltd.

George Court was built in 1959 and has been one of the most popular high rise blocks managed by Renfrewshire Council.  The 15-storey, 40 metre high building, comprising 56 flats is a brick-based structure that underwent major refurbishment in the late 1990s, when external balconies were incorporated into interior space, external cladding was applied, new windows installed and a low-pitched roof added.

A recent examination of the structure identified an issue affecting the curtain walling running the full height of the building at each of the four corners where there are open vents into each living room with spandrel panels below. It was decided to replace the existing aluminium panels using Chromatics Safety Glass. Concrete Repair Ltd is the Main Contractor for the refurbishment of the project.

Not a toughened glass, Chromatics Safety Glass is a unique safety glass that achieves exceptional performance. Its extraordinary resilience is as a result of bonding together, at a molecular level, glass, a colour layer and metal, transforming them into a laminate that is both light weight and shatterproof, as well as being visually stunning and having a completely smooth surface.  An unrivalled depth of colour is achieved with 100% opacity, no pin-holes and no risk of show through or colour variation often inherent with ceramic coatings. What’s more, the manufacture is environmentally friendly with no heavy metals or toxic elements in the organic low-energy colour process.

At George Court a graphite grey colour scheme has been selected. Because the colour is encapsulated between the layers of the laminated product, it is UV stable for at least 25 years and will neither fade nor discolour.

Replacing one cladding system with another can have implications in terms of load bearing but one of the principal advantages of Chromatics Safety Glass is its lightweight quality. The 6mm thick panels specified for the George Court contract weigh just 15.32kg per square metre, making them easier to handle, transport and install, thereby offering huge savings on installation costs. By using Chromatics Safety Glass, the weight of the cladding it replaces will be reduced by more than half. The contract also involves replacing existing Styrofoam insulation with a non-combustible Rockwool product.

Another feature of the product is that, despite its slim and light profile, it is inherently strong, making it shatterproof and impact resistant. The molecularly bonded product can withstand considerable impact force and, even if damaged, remains intact and waterproof and can be removed whole and replaced easily. It is not susceptible to catastrophic nickel sulphide breaks.

Chromatics Safety Glass is highly versatile allowing architects and designers complete creative freedom to bring style and resilience to a host of applications. Available in the full range of RAL colours for use either externally as rainscreen, architectural cladding, curtain walling, or signage, as well as a range of internal uses that include feature walls, counter tops, balustrading and partitioning. It is also possible to replicate any traditional finishes, for example natural stone, wood, terracotta, porcelain, marble, ceramic, brick and metal surfaces.

Chromatics originally developed its product in the UK as spandrel panelling before the company expanded into a new market for glass products in frameless rainscreen and ventilated façade systems for cladding new and refurbished buildings.

The uniqueness of the product is underlined by the fact that talks have been underway between the company and the RIBA to develop a separate product clause for Chromatics Safety Glass as, although laminated, it is not laminated glass and, although tough, it is not toughened glass. It is hoped that the new, specific clause, will appear in RIBA’s specification and product selector in mid-October.

Chromatics Safety Glass has recently been awarded an A2-s1-d0 fire rating.

At George Court the replacement Chromatics panels are due on site in late September and the refurbishment is scheduled for completion by Christmas.

For further information, please contact the Chromatics Safety Glass Head Office on 01904 439187 or visit www.chromaticsglass.com

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