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Fine tune your fenestration to put safety first

  • 28 Jul 2020

From slimline curtain walls to robust commercial doors and thermally-efficient windows, the flexibility offered by aluminium systems makes them a popular choice with specifiers working across the sectors. Now, whilst navigating the ‘new normal’, Andrew Cooper, national specification manager from Senior Architectural Systems, explains how existing aluminium fenestration solutions can help lead the way.

Entrance innovations

In the wake of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, building owners are re-evaluating how people enter and use their facilities and in high-traffic areas, the choice of door system can make a big difference.

High-traffic touch points like door handles can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses and as a result, require regular cleaning.

Automatic doors can therefore provide a safe and secure solution and can be used both as main entrance doors and internally to help further limit the risk of contamination within a building.

If automatic doors are not appropriate, many existing aluminium doors systems can be fabricated to utilise innovative hardware such as wave-activated touchless entry and exit pads.

Other entrance system options that can be offered to help building owners navigate the new COVID-19 regulations include the use of facial and thermal recognition cameras, and people-counting monitors to help manage occupancy levels.        

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A breath of fresh air

Ensuring adequate ventilation, particularly in small and enclosed spaces, has long been recognised as an important way to maintain a healthy internal environment.

Safety must always be a key consideration when specifying windows and different opening styles offer different solutions.

Tilt and turn aluminium windows are a popular choice as they combine the look of a traditional casement window with a modern opening style that can be operated in two ways – they can be used in the tilt position for ventilation, with the turn function used for ease of cleaning from the inside.

Not only easy to clean, the tilt feature also provides ventilation with restricted access to prevent people, children in particular, from climbing out – making this style of window particularly useful for high-rise residential schemes.

To meet the specific challenges of the commercial sector, especially education and healthcare projects, parallel push style windows are also a great solution.

With hinges on all sides of the frame, this type of window can be easily pushed open and yet will remain parallel to the wall.

This enables rooms to be safely ventilated, with the limited opening helping to reduce the risk of falls from the window or trapped fingers. Aesthetically, the use of push parallel style windows can also help to create a more uniform façade.

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Light and space

With so much focus rightly being placed on physical safety and the need to reduce the risk of infection, it’s important to also consider the emotional and mental impact of a building’s design.

As well as providing practical benefits, aluminium fenestration systems also offer exceptional aesthetic appeal and can help maximise the use of natural light  – which in turn can have influence the wellbeing of the building’s users.

Owing to the inherent strength of aluminium, larger expanses of glazing can be safely supported within much narrower frames to provide slim sightlines, wider views and a greater link between internal and external areas. 

Maintaining standards

Another important attribute of aluminium is the fact that it is incredibly durable and requires very little maintenance.

At a time when cleaning regimes have had to be increased but costs must be restricted, this can make a huge difference to overall maintenance budgets.

The use of a powder coating can further boost the durability of aluminium and many new innovations are now available which include bespoke decorative and textured finishes, as well as specialist coatings such as those that offer anti-bacterial properties or higher resistance to exposure to UV light and humidity.

Early engagement with the systems manufacturer is an important part of the specification process and in these uncertain times, can help identify the most appropriate and most cost-effective options for fenestration packages.

To discuss your next project, contact Senior Architectural Systems on 01709 772600 or [email protected]

Further information and regional contact details can be found on the company’s website

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