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The residents of a Grade II* listed former cotton mill, located on the Aston Canal in Greater Manchester, have gained increased comfort levels through the installation of Part L compliant, W40 fenestration by a member of the Steel Window Association.

Cavendish Mill at Ashton-under-Lyme was converted into a series of social housing apartments in 1994, the building having been used for a variety of purposes after cotton spinning stopped 60 years earlier. Unfortunately the wooden windows fitted at the time were of a poor standard and did not match the property’s architectural heritage, so when New Charter Housing Trust took over the mill, the decision was reached to fit contemporary steel windows.

Rea Metal Windows won the contract to replace all of the wooden frames with modern, high performance W40 steel frames offering authentic sight lines as well as excellent thermal insulation values in line with the current requirements of Part L to the Building Regulations. This is achieved through fitting IG units featuring a soft coat inner leaf and argon gas filling in a 4-16-4 make up.

The Head of Investment for New Charter Housing, Danny Vose, comments: “The earliest photographs we could find of Cavendish Mill showed wooden windows, though it is unusual for an industrial building of this type. There was lengthy consultation with the Conservation Officer and English Heritage, during which we considered fitting new timber, steel, hybrid and even plastic windows.

“If we had opted for timber windows they would have had to be hardwood, but in the end in consultation with the Conservation Officer we opted for steel as the best proposition.

“Rea worked very hard on refining the design to get the right appearance, and even had to use a cradle to access the main elevation along the canal side. The company did a very good job, and installing steel windows has taken the building back better than it was before.”

Members of the Steel Window Association are able to offer a wide choice of solutions for new build and retrofit projects across the sectors: specialising in ‘Replica Refurbishment’ where new frames exactly match those being replaced. Alternatively old steel and even wrought iron windows can be fully restored and have their thermal performance improved with modern seals and slimline IG units.