A redesigned steel window system offers enhanced thermal and physical performance while retaining all its aesthetic integrity. Technical Editor, Bruce Meechan reports.
Traditional steel windows have always offered widely valued benefits – including strength, security, good light transmission and a unique appearance. Now though, Crittall Windows' accomplished design engineers have developed three significantly deeper profiles, enabling the new HomelightPlus range to achieve a B rating from NFRC. This means that for the foreseeable future the company’s domestic offering can satisfy Building Regulations in like-for-like replacement situations, while the sector’s best known manufacturer is also able to offer various solutions for new build applications.
After many years as managing director of the company, John Pyatt took up the position of Chairman in 2015. He told HA Magazine: "The profiles for the HomelightPlus Range feature an increased front-to-back dimension, but retain the same outward appearance as the original Homelight range. Combined with high performance sealed units this delivers a ‘B’ Rating while the Building Regulations permit the range’s specification as a result of the centre pane U-value of 1.2 (W/m2 K)."
Add to this the fact that Crittall Windows’ reputation for strength and security has been further enhanced with a new multi-point locking system, and the HomelightPlus starts to look very attractive for refurbishment work across the social housing sector’s many ageing mansion blocks.
Interestingly my walk from the station to meet John Pyatt in London’s St John’s Wood took me past numerous council and privately owned apartment buildings which typically rise four to five storeys across this part of the capital. Between them was a brick built school of similar proportions which also featured steel windows.
What jarred in this urban streetscape was the sight of those properties where the owners had opted to retrofit alternative, chunkier window systems which stood out as clumsy and alien. For both Homelight and the heavier duty W20 systems offer the slimmest sight-lines of any framing material. And therefore the highest possible levels of light transmission, along with an optimum outlook from the occupied rooms.
New Managing Director, Stuart Judge, added: “We see this major new product development as a significant milestone for the company and adding a new dimension to the window frame marketplace. It presents an excellent opportunity for the building, architectural and installation sectors: offering their clients a new product with many tangible features and end-user benefits.
"Specifiers and installers should ensure the window brand is what it says it is - only the original, genuine, make – from a reputable manufacturer like ourselves. Being the original, pioneering, steel window company, Crittall knows there are window companies claiming to be providing that, but are not."
HomelightPlus is available in a choice of styles including an authentic divided glazing bar feature and the choice of 46 colours, plus a dual colour option. The steel window frames can therefore match, or contrast with other exterior features and interior décor.
Being hot dip galvanized and factory finished with a very durable polyester powder coat, HomelightPlus offers 60 years or more service life, with no need to redecorate for 25-30 years, which will save social housing providers two or three maintenance cycles compared to some framing materials. Set alongside a competitive purchase price, the whole life costings demand consideration.
Despite a low key launch to the industry in February, Crittall has already won some major contracts, and is supplying thousands of HomelightPlus windows for an apartment complex as well as a Japanese school in the capital. With output from its factory near Braintree in Essex already up 20% on the previous financial year, the new domestic option is set to help Crittall go from strength to strength.