A project by Associated Steel Window Services was central to the redevelopment of the ‘long-neglected’ top floor of London’s former County Hall building that has stood empty for nearly 30 years.
A number of the dormer window features on Level 5 had been boarded or bricked up for two decades. After a detailed condition survey on behalf of the project consultants, Material Works Architects, ASWS was tasked with repairing and easing a total of 134 faceted bay windows, many of which had suffered heavy corrosion.
ASWS carried out the repair and replacement contract at County Hall on behalf of Sustainable Ventures, which specialises in sustainable refurbishments, whereby as much as possible of an old building is reused or repurposed to minimise waste.
Though generally measuring 1.2 x 2.1metres, the three section dormers were two metres square and had been exposed to the full force of the weather. For the 11 openings which required new frames fabricating, ASWS drew on its experience in replica refurbishment in order to respect the Grade II listing.
Director Kris Bennell explained: “The original windows featured Mid-Universal suite steel frames, so for the 11 which had to be reinstated we produced close replicas using W20 sections; though across the job as a whole we were asked to provide a ‘light touch’ restoration. This is very much the ethos of the client which is committed to providing sustainable workspaces; as well as offering help with issues such as funding and recruitment.”
“For the fenestration, new handles were fixed to the original back-plates, while we designed new blocks which were fitted to the heads, for the spring catches to engage with. Any broken panes were replaced and all of the hinges reset to ensure ease of operation.”
Late on in the 13 week programme, ASWS was also asked to undertake the redecoration of all the windows. And although this was limited to spot-priming areas of bare metal and applying one topcoat, it did involve operatives putting in a lot of overtime, including weekend working, he added.