The ongoing transformation of Woolwich Arsenal has seen steel window specialist ASWS undertake a number of contracts within Woolwich Works, a creative quarter within the formerly derelict munitions factory.

In Buildings 19 and 41, ASWS was tasked with refurbishing over a dozen large steel windows, including 10 with semi-circular heads, and the removal of three others where the openings were to be blocked up or replaced by new doors.  These posed a particular challenge in that the outer frames had been deeply recessed into the brickwork to help withstand a possible explosion, from inside or outside, with the history of the building and its location.

The 12 windows measuring 2,400mm high by 1,500mm were removed to the London premises of ASWS for grit-blasting and the replacement of many heavily corroded sections.  In part, this work was facilitated by the company’s decision to conserve the three unwanted frames rather than simply scrapping them.  During the course of its project, this trio became the “Frankenstein” of donor frames for a number of repairs carried out by ASWS.

This reuse, rather than the building industry’s default of recycling old metal, offered the client significant cost savings and helped maintain the integrity of a historic complex which dates back to the end of the 17th century.

Steve Hawthorne, project manager for main contractor Mace Interiors, said: “The London borough of Greenwich recommended ASWS to us for the project and the company performed so well that we have got them on our database now for involvement in other projects.  They can take old steel windows which are virtually ready for the skip and make them as good as new, and there really aren’t many people who can do work like that.”

The scope of ASWS’s work also included the repair and polishing of all the original ironmongery, in-situ decoration and re-glazing with 4mm thick heritage glass.  The replacement glass was completed with mastic fronting to replicate the appearance of traditional aesthetic of puttying in glass.

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