Opening up the heritage sector

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One of the first things you learn in this industry is that PVCU and the heritage sector don’t mix.
We’ve all heard the stories about the planners who won’t consider PVCU as an acceptable alternative to timber. We’ve all encountered the owners of heritage homes who tum their noses up at the idea of ‘plastic windows’ . It’s an accepted wisdom
that PVCU and heritage are an uneasy mix and that PVCU in Grade II listed or conservation area buildings isn’t even to be contemplated.
The awkward truth is that, until relatively recently, these opinions were all too easy to understand.
Yes, PVCU windows were often far superior to their timber counterparts in terms of thermal efficiency and maintenance requirements. Yes, coloured finishes had come on in leaps and bounds so that white was no longer the only option. Yes, the aesthetics had developed a great deal since the early days. But despite all that, put a good quality timber sliding sash alongside a good quality PVCU sliding sash and the authentic aesthetics of the timber window would win every time. The PVCU alternative was a good impersonation, but it was still all too obviously PVCU.
It ‘s this awkward truth that we had to acknowledge when a customer came to us seeking a PVCU sliding sash that would be acceptable for use in his Grade II listed home . We took this as a challenge, knowing that it would mean engaging with
both likeminded clients and planning officers. We took on the challenge because we felt it was about time that our industry’s products were accepted for use in the nation’s Grade II listed and conservation area homes.
Before we even sat down at the drawing board, we arranged a meeting with our customer’s planning officer . We needed to understand exactly what the problems were with a standard industry sliding sash. The conversation we had was extremely enlightening. While the planning officer could see the quality of the window and the practical advantages it offered, the PVCU welds immediately flagged up the window’s ‘inauthenticity’, as did the shiny PVCU finish. Armed with this information,
our R&D team got to work prototyping what was to become the Genesis sliding sash.

No compromise

The Genesis VS does away with the standard PVCU weld, replacing it with traditional timber jointing methods, and it has a low sheen finish. It has run through sash horns and a deep bottom sash rail as standard. It also has an external Ovolo weather bar and an optional fully milled decorative astragal Georgian bar while high security acorn cam locks and sash buttons add to the authentic appearance without compromising on what modern developments have to offer.
I’m delighted to report that the Genesis VS was accepted for use in the property that initiated its development. I’m even more delighted to announce that it’s subsequently been accepted for use in several other similar projects and conservation area properties.
It’s our responsibility as an industry to take this new generation of products to the naysayers and prove that high quality PVCU windows are perfect for use in sensitive heritage developments, but it’s also the responsibility of the planners to set
aside their prejudices and take a fresh look at what our industry has to offer.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and there’s no doubt that changing people’s minds will take time. But in products such as the Genesis VS we believe that we have the tools to do the job.
“We needed to understand exactly what the problems were with
a standard industry sliding sash.”