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Spectus windows help transform iconic hotel into luxury seafront apartments

204 bespoke Spectus windows, which included a mixture of arched top vertical sliders, bowed vertical sliders, circular windows and standard vertical sliders have been manufactured and supplied for the sympathetic landmark refurbishment of Cliff House, an iconic former hotel in Felixstowe, into 24 one and two-bedroom luxury seaside apartments.

Cliff House was built as a 100-room hotel in 1906. It sits in a prominent position on the seafront in a conservation area in Felixstowe and is one of the town’s most iconic and well-loved buildings. Although it started life as a hotel, more recently it had been used as offices but had started to fall into disrepair. Developer Dragon Wood Homes secured the conversion of the building into 19 two bedroom flats and five one bedroom flats under permitted development rights.

There were several factors that made the window requirements of the conversion particularly complex.

The standard required – Dragon Wood wanted to create luxury seaside apartments that would attract a premium price tag by retaining original features wherever possible and maintaining the feeling of the building with its high ceilings and sash windows.

The location of the building – because Cliff House was in a conservation zone in a seafront location, the choice of materials was crucial to meet both aesthetic and weathering requirements.

The history of the building – Cliff House had been the subject of several controversial planning applications before the conversion and local residents were particularly keen for any new use of the building to be in keeping with the surroundings.

The bespoke nature of the windows – with a mix of 204 arched top vertical sliders, bowed vertical sliders, circular windows and standard vertical sliders required, the selected window systems needed to have exceptional versatility.

At the same time as the aesthetics needing to meet exacting requirements, the technical requirements were also stringent. As a building being redeveloped to offer comfortable modern living but also sited on the seafront, the windows needed to achieve high standards of thermal efficiency and weatherproofing.

The windows specified were the Spectus Vertical Slider and Elite 70 window systems and were manufactured by specialist Spectus fabricator Mercury Glazing Supplies Ltd of Gloucestershire.

The Spectus Vertical Slider system is the market leading PVC-U vertical sliding system and is approved by planning officers even for use in conservation areas. The system achieves a Window Energy Rating of Band ‘A’ with 24mm sealed units and has pile seals to the sash and outerframe to prevent draughts, making it an excellent choice for a seafront location. It also offers authentic heritage features and design versatility, which was required in this case.

The Elite 70 window system offers a full range of colours, decorative finishes and ancillaries, so was capable of delivering the heritage aesthetics required. At the same time, it can achieve Window Energy Ratings of Bands ‘C ‘ to ‘A+’ and co-extruded bubble weather seals ensure the performance meets the requirements of BS 6375-1, meaning the system was capable of delivering modern day thermal performance levels and protection from the seafront elements.

All windows on the build were produced in white woodgrain foil finish on both sides to enhance the heritage aesthetic.

The finished result is an exceptional example of how PVC-U heritage products can enhance heritage refurbishments and redevelopments while also delivering modern day thermal efficiency requirements.

Paul Whyman of Dragon Wood Homes said: “Due to the age of the building and differing window styles needed, we needed to work with a fabrication partner who could deliver the bespoke energy-efficient windows needed while achieving the right balance from a conservation point of view. Mercury Glazing are an established specialist fabricator and as such, their products combined with the cutting-edge technology delivered by Spectus more that met these exacting standards.  The quality of the products was superb and we are delighted with the overall high-quality result.”

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