Conservation areas need the benefit of 21st-century technology

Published: 21st September 2020

This country’s heritage is worth preserving and conservation areas are an essential part of its protection. It’s often thought that because of the special character of these areas, residents will accept a degree of restriction, working withing more stringent planning conditions for example. However, conservation areas are more than quaint museum exhibits. They are living, breathing communities with homes, business premises, social spaces, schools and clinics and those who live or work in them deserve the same standards of comfort, security and durability as those in areas without the designation.

Timber: worth the compromise?

Architects and specifiers frequently assume that when their project is in a conservation area, they must choose traditional materials for windows and doors. Often this decision, made largely on aesthetic grounds, leads to compromises in other areas. Timber is, of course, a natural product, but without regular maintenance it can be prone to rot, swelling and shrinking. Good quality timber frames can be prohibitively expensive and may not deliver the security, longevity and energy-efficiency that consumers expect.

The answer is simple: windows that combine authentic period styling, proportions and details with durable, insulating materials and high-security hardware.

The proven alternative

A great example is the Spectus Vertical Sliding window. For years it has been the market leader and it continues to evolve to meet ever-higher standards of thermal performance, security and function. This is a window that is highly accredited, can easily reach a WER of Band A+, matches timber sash dimensions for ease of installation, and features the benefits of tilt inwards sashes, draught-proof seals and smooth gliding action.
There is no doubt that it is an outstanding PVCU sash window, but it doesn’t look like one. Its appearance so closely mirrors that of a traditional timber frame that planning authorities regularly approve its use in conservation areas. It has a mechanically jointed option to replicate the woodworker’s style, through sash horns, ovolo detail throughout and a range of foiled finishes to suit any era, building materials or architectural style. It’s a favourite for renovation projects but it’s also ideal for newbuild projects subject to strict planning constraints.

Blending the best of the old with the best of the new

With this window, and with its more recent Flush Casement style, Spectus has paid attention to the details that give period windows their character. But, at the same time, Spectus has maintained its commitment to technology, high standards, resilient materials, exceptional insulation and practicality because these things make homes, commercial premises, schools and other properties warmer, safer, more aesthetically pleasing and more environmentally friendly.
When specifying windows for a project, it’s important to see the bigger picture. Planners across the country have realised this. They are balancing a desire to maintain an area’s special character with a drive towards affordability, sustainability and low-carbon homes. Unlike timber, PVCU can deliver on all counts.

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