Doors, windows & glazing

In terms of design, fibreglass supports the construction of visually appealing housing. In fact, it opens up a world of possibilities for housing associations due to its strength and stability, which enable it to hold large surface areas of glass, bypassing the need to produce and fit specialist, and often very expensive, structural glass. They also support more adventurous design projects that would previously

have been prohibitive due to the cost associated with incorporating bespoke glazing solutions. Not only that, but fibreglass also expands in line with window glass, removing the need for gaskets to hold the pane in place, adding further aesthetic value to a building.

MINIMAL MAINTENANCE REQUIRED Perhaps one of the most striking features of a fibreglass frame is that, despite how light it is, it is exceptionally hardwearing. Plus, it is highly rot and corrosion resistant delivering a long lifecycle.

The challenge now is overcoming the UK’s inherent resistance to change

In fact, it is these factors that have underpinned the material’s success in parts

of Europe and Canada; countries that were quick to harness the power of fibreglass to counteract the weather-related erosion that window frames in coastal regions and harsh climates are subject to. Against the backdrop of a survey carried out by a prominent housing media

title earlier this year, which revealed how housing associations’ expenditure on major repairs reduced by 7.3 per cent in 2015/16 and that planned maintenance expenditure dropped by 1.6 per cent, sustainable and durable products will surely offer some welcome relief.

FUTURE PROOFING THE UK A House of Lords report created by the Select Committee on Economic Affairs entitled Building More Homes concluded that the government’s target of one million new homes by 2020 will not be enough. More importantly, it put forward the case that in order to address the housing crisis, at least 300,000 new homes are needed annually for the foreseeable future. This is by no means an insignificant amount. If we are to meet this target then

the annual window footprint alone would be considerable, and the volume of plastic and aluminium required quite daunting. Given the renewed focus on sustainability, which is made even more

urgent by government targets that seek to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, it is time that the industry embraced new approaches to window frames and considered the role it plays in contributing towards delivering sustainable housing. The technology exists. The challenge now is overcoming the UK’s inherent

resistance to change by making fibreglass window frames a standard component within UK social housing in order to improve the sustainability credentials of today’s buildings while helping to shape those of tomorrow.

Neil Puttock is the managing director of Boavista Windows | HMM January 2018 | 41

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