048 GGP 0815

GGP August 2015

ALUMINIUM How glazing can help drive retail sales Paul Coley, technical specification manager at Senior Architectural Systems, explains how the use of shop front glazing and curtain walling systems needs careful consideration. From the independent used motor dealerships to the flagship luxury showrooms of the high-end car brands, the use of glazing is an overarching design feature. The very nature of car showrooms means that they have to be highly visible, with eye-catching frontages that perfectly display both the company’s brand and its product. However, it’s also vital that they can create a comfortable customer environment and when it comes to the use of large expanses of glazing, controlling solar gain is perhaps the biggest issue. As the use of tinted solarcontrolled glass is not generally considered for this sector and not all buildings can be orientated to minimise solar gain, attention must be paid to the type of systems used in terms of its thermal performance and compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations. The positioning of window openings can also be a factor in assessing the amount of heat that is directly absorbed into a building. In most cases, showrooms often rely heavily on the use of airconditioning to create a comfortable interior environment for customers but not only is this far from energy efficient, it can also prove a costly solution. The almost constant use of artificial lighting can also contribute to significant running costs and increasingly, clients are looking at more cost effective and sustainable solutions. As well as the use of brisesoleil and louvres to control solar gain, the specification of systems that provide low ‘U’ values can provide opportunities to off-set high carbon emissions in mechanically cooled areas. The use of aluminium systems, with the material’s established environmental credentials, can also offer durability and longevity which ultimately can help reduce long-term maintenance costs. Another important environmental consideration is the location of the showroom itself. Often found on out-of-town retail sites and in semiexposed areas, it is vital that the chosen curtain wall system offers the required protection from the elements in terms of the robustness of its construction. Many of the contracts that Senior has worked on have been in Scotland, often in coastal locations, and so it’s imperative that the specified system boasts high thermal performance to cope with extreme weather conditions. As well as offering the highperformance that this sector requires, aluminium systems also offer fantastic design flexibility. Many of Senior’s clients in the car showroom sector have taken advantage of the fact that the aluminium section of our curtain wall systems can be powder coated in virtually any colour in our in-house powder coating facility, which is one of the largest and most technically advanced in the country. The use of colour is a great way for the larger dealerships to reinforce brand identity but it can also be an effective way of creating a bespoke and individual look for the independent retailers. Systems that offer slim sightlines are also the preferred choice as they offer aesthetic appeal but also maximize the flow of natural light. Although curtain walling is often the dominant feature of a car showroom’s facade, consideration must be given to how effectively and easily the system will integrate with the doors and windows. Choosing a supplier that offers a suite of compatible products, from shop front glazing to thermally-efficient window systems and automatic commercial doors can bring significant cost and time savings to a project. 48 www.ggpmag.com August 2015 The Harry Fairbairn Mini dealership in Kirkcaldy features Senior’s SMR900 curtain wall and commercial SD doors, installed and fabricated by Nortek Aluminium for main contractor Bell Buildings Projects Inchcape Volkswagen in Stockport features thermally enhanced SMR800 curtain wall integrated with Senior’s SFG shop front glazing system and SD automatic doors


GGP August 2015
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