Four rooflights together form the centrepiece of the Grade 2 listed India Buildings in Liverpool which is being brought back to its former glory by a monumental refurbishment project.

The Banking Hall and Regency Suite are home to the rooflights. The latter previously had a mezzanine level thought to date to the late 1970s but this has now been removed to restore the grandeur of the original light-filled double-height spaces. 

The rooflights went through many different design iterations, working with the structural engineers to get the desired result. The Pilkington Planar system was chosen to fasten to the support structure, thanks to its low-profile design. The stainless steel fittings use bolts that are countersunk into the glass to allow a flush exterior surface allowing maximum visual clarity, while ensuring the connections looked as seamless as possible.

The double-glazed units are made up of a 10 mm thick outer pane of Pilkington Optifloat Clear, a 16 mm air-filled cavity and a 13.5 mm-thick laminated inner pane of Pilkington K Glass low-emissivity glass.

The laminated pane uses the Pilkington SentryGlas interlayer, which is five times stronger than conventional laminating materials and will ensure the lanterns are able to stand up to significant forces, such as snow-loading during winter.

Logistics played a huge role in the renovation. Glazing installer, OJ Taffinder, started working on the project in 2017 and made numerous site visits to ensure a safe installation.

As the roof wasn’t strong enough to support the weight of the glass on stillages, it was decided that the best option was to transport the glass through the building before moving it into position on automated hoists with temporary scaffolding and crash decks in place. 

The glass was delivered on Water Street before being offloaded and transported on ramps erected by the contractor to the first floor using a Nomad quattrolift with four vacuum pads. OJ Taffinder incorporated a hoisting rail into the scaffolding, which was seven meters above the rooflights, where an electric hoist was used to lift the glass from the first floor into the steel structure. 

OJ Taffinder director Ollie Taffinder said: “Liverpool India Buildings was a huge project for us, and a lot of time went into planning and sourcing the correct scaffolding and hoists, due to the complexity of the installation.

“On all projects, safety is paramount, but even more so when working on such a complicated job. By collaborating with all involved we were able to ensure a swift and safe glazing installation.”

The project is scheduled for completion this year.

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