Irish say no to PVC windows

Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:27 am

intellectual


That's certainly one way of putting a good whinge :D

Are they PVC sashes Sarachryan?
Salvaged sashes are highly unlikely to fit, or properly at least. Replicas are usually the best course of action when it comes to such cases - though salvaged glass may be available which could be cut to size - for the front facade at least perhaps.

Isn't it extraordinary how so many people 'do the windows' before selling up?
Often laughed at the idea of contacting the agent with €8000 knocked off the asking price, and the scene with them trying to translate to the incredulous vendors that it's necessary as the brand new windows 'have to be done' :D.
DePVCed :)

In some areas, mostly in south Dublin, replacement windows undoubtedly devalue property.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Frank Taylor » Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:31 am

Graham Hickey wrote:salvaged glass may be available which could be cut to size
Is it possible to get replica antique glass?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:40 am

Yes - the OPW used it in the restoration of the glasshouses in the Botanic Gardens. It is laser treated, generating wavy patterns. Presumably you can get it to mimic a variety of effects, from crown to cylinder, to early 20th century artifacts.
Presumably it is also very expensive :)

There's a few companies that still make glass using the old, or at least similar methods to produce the same results. You should be able to find some internet sites with more.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Fri Apr 29, 2005 6:17 pm

Sorry, just to clarify, the glass used by the OPW was specifically chosen to look as authentic as possible, but is unlikely that it was laser treated - I've no idea as to where that concept came from :o

However it is possible that they used an in-between 'period style' glass that features waves, but no imperfections (such as bubbles) as described in the link below.
Either method used, one may be sure that it was pretty pricey - on this site alone there's nothing genuine below £100 sterling per square metre, or £55 psm for 'period style' :eek:

http://www.londoncrownglass.co.uk/Types.html
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Frank Taylor » Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:47 am

Thanks for that Graham, I had looked for replica antique glass in the past and failed to find anything.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby kefu » Sat Apr 30, 2005 4:45 pm

It says on that website that they used replica antique glass in Castletown House
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Paul Clerkin » Sun May 01, 2005 3:26 am

And the view from Canada...

New windows: A pane in the glass
The Globe and Mail

If eyes are windows into a person's soul, then the opposite must be true for architecture: Windows are a building's eyes, and its soul can be lost forever if the wrong kind are installed during a renovation.

That fact was driven home recently while brunching with my wife and a few friends on Front Street East. During a lull in the conversation, my gaze drifted to a couple of converted brick warehouses across the street: one built in 1877 at No. 69 and its corner neighbour, No. 65, constructed a few years earlier.

Strangely, although both were well preserved, only one seemed to have any personality. Although the glazing on No. 69 had been replaced in 1987, the original carved "rope" sashes were retained; slim, elegant and splitting into a lovely 'Y' shape at the top, they seem to cradle the keystone above the window while echoing the pattern etched within it.

Next door, what were once arched windows have been bricked in and smaller, single-pane rectangular windows now stare void and expressionless in their place, which brought to mind the hollow disks-for-eyes of Harold Gray's Little Orphan Annie. Spooky.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050429/ARCHICOL29/TPEntertainment/
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun May 01, 2005 10:10 pm

Graham Hickey wrote:You say Monty that "a defensible case could be made for replacing like with like" - is this your opinion or is it the actual legislation? Thanks


Its my opinion and I would like to make clear that I was talking about a specific type of window – the vertical slider. A like for like replacement of the top-hung casements in the photos would not be defensible.
The only legislation is Part B1 of the second schedule to the Building Regulations 1997;
“A building shall be so designed and constructed that there are adequate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety outside the building, capable of being safely and effectively used.” Everything else in the Technical Guidance Document is what is says on the label, guidance.

In the case of existing buildings TGD B states; “In the case of material alterations or changes of use of existing buildings, the adoption of the guidance in this document without modification may not, in all circumstances, be appropriate. In particular, the adherence to guidance including codes, standards or technical specifications, intended for application to new work may be unduly restrictive or impracticable. Buildings of architectural or historical interest are especially likely to give rise to such circumstances. In these situations, alternative approaches based on the principles contained in the document may be more relevant and should be considered.”

In addition to the previously mentioned general safety requirement there is also the precautionary principle to consider, “Where there is uncertainty as to the existence or extent of risks of serious or irreversible damage to the environment, or injury to human health, adequate protective measures must be taken without having to wait until the reality and seriousness of those risks become fully apparent.”

Although the guidance provides for alternative approaches it is obvious that these should be based on fundamental fire engineering principles. Anything less then that then the person responsible for installing the window would have problems in the event of a fire related fatality.

I’ll make some enquiries and see what I can come up with. There was certainly one case going through the courts here last year that would have been pertinent.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun May 01, 2005 10:17 pm

Graham Hickey wrote:Here's Wynns' windows
Perhaps the peripheral frames of the arched windows are a teeny bit too wide?...but that could just be down to an unfair comparison with the Georgains, and their obsession with concealing the frame.

These windows look magnificent - and are painted a soft not-in-your-face shade of white.



You’re quite right but I’d put it down to one of three probabilities; inaccurate survey or making them all the same size in order to reduce costs or not wanting to disturb interior works and inserting the new frame without fully removing the old frame again to reduce costs. Either way its inexcusable and mars an otherwise commendable job.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Sun May 01, 2005 10:19 pm

So is it just up to the opinions of the building inspector signing off works or planner inspecting planning permissions for both new and existing buildings - i.e. their interpretations of the guidelines?
It's up to them to decide if they'll allow something or not as there is little laid down in stone in regulations?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun May 01, 2005 10:19 pm

Devin wrote:I checked out the Wynn's windows myself too since Monty mentioned them....was reasonably impressed, although as with all double-glazed multi-pane sashes, the glazing bars skim over the surface of the glass, resulting in a slightly fake look. But at least they have copied the V-shaped sectional profile on the outside, formed by the putty in a traditional sash.


Its certainly possible to get double-glazed multi-pane sashes with individual insulated glass units but its not recommended. The problem is that such units require very ‘heavy’ glazing bars to support the weight of glass and to meet modern performance standards for wind-loading – the frame is not allowed to deflect more then 1/175 of its length. Generally the resultant glazing bar is so wide it looks shite. Anything that doesn’t look shite almost certainly hasn’t been performance tested. Single glazing has less stringent requirements and so facilitates thinner glazing bars. A minefield indeed.

At least the Wynns windows have dispensed with the superfluous spacer bar between the glazing bars. This is only noticeable when viewed at a very acute angle.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun May 01, 2005 10:22 pm

Sarachryan wrote:I know I'm contributing nothing to the intellectual value of this discussion but I'd really appreciate any advice, which would be put to good use.

Thank you




W & J Bolger for a replica window. Marvin for a contemporary window that should look the part.

I haven’t seen a plastic or aluminium window that work in a Victorian red-brick. Funnily enough todays Sunday Times featured such windows in a puff piece for Patricia McKenna who is selling her house in Drumcondra with the sub-heading “….restored her home to reflect her principles”. Indeed.
Almost as funny as another puff piece in the same supplement about Tom de Paors new townhouses in Christchurch which despite being self-styled masterpieces have what looks like concrete leachate running down the window frames!

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Sun May 01, 2005 10:26 pm

:)

Are the glazing bars on the likes of Wynns even attached to the glass towards the centre of the window?
And are bars usually placed on the inside too, or just the external elevation?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby PVC King » Sun May 29, 2005 10:21 pm

PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACT, 2000 SECTION 84


Area of special planning control. 84.—(1) A planning authority may, if it considers that all or part of an architectural conservation area is of special importance to, or as respects, the civic life or the architectural, historical, cultural or social character of a city or town in which it is situated, prepare a scheme setting out development objectives for the preservation and enhancement of that area, or part of that area, and providing for matters connected therewith.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), a scheme prepared under that subsection may include objectives (and provisions for the furtherance or attainment of those objectives) for—

(a) the promotion of a high standard of civic amenity and civic design;

(b) the preservation and protection of the environment, including the architectural, archaeological and natural heritage;

(c) the renewal, preservation, conservation, restoration, development or redevelopment of the streetscape, layout and building pattern, including the co-ordination and upgrading of shop frontages;

(d) the control of the layout of areas, density, building lines and height of structures and the treatment of spaces around and between structures;

(e) the control of the design, colour and materials of structures, in particular the type or quality of building materials used in structures;

(f) the promotion of the maintenance, repair or cleaning of structures;

(g) the promotion of an appropriate mix of uses of structures or other land;

(h) the control of any new or existing uses of structures or other land;

(i) the promotion of the development or redevelopment of derelict sites or vacant sites; or

(j) the regulation, restriction or control of the erection of advertisement structures and the exhibition of advertisements.

(3) A scheme prepared under subsection (1) shall be in writing and shall be consistent with the objectives of the relevant development plan and any local area plan or integrated area plan (within the meaning of the Urban Renewal Act, 1998) in force relating to the area to which the scheme relates.

(4) (a) A scheme prepared under subsection (1) shall indicate the period for which the scheme is to remain in force.

(b) A scheme may indicate the order in which it is proposed that the objectives of the scheme or provisions for their furtherance or attainment will be implemented.

(5) A scheme shall contain information, including information of such class or classes as may be prescribed by the Minister, on the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the scheme.

(6) In this section, and sections 85 and 86—

"city" means a county borough;

"town" means a borough (other than a county borough), an urban district or a town having town commissioners that has a population in excess of 2,000.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby PVC King » Sun May 29, 2005 10:26 pm

P & D ACT 2000 wrote:


PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACT, 2000 SECTION 57

Works affecting character of protected structures or proposed protected structures. 57.—] (b) any element of the structure which contributes to its special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.
[/B]
(2) An owner or occupier of a protected structure may make a written request to the planning authority, within whose functional area that structure is situated, to issue a declaration as to the type of works which it considers would or would not materially affect the character of the structure or of any element, referred to in subsection (1)(b), of that structure.

(3) Within 12 weeks after receiving a request under subsection (2), or within such other period as may be prescribed, a planning authority shall issue a declaration under this section to the person who made the request.

(4) Before issuing a declaration under this section, a planning authority shall have regard to—

(a) any guidelines issued under section 52, and

(b) any recommendations made to the authority under section 53.

(5) If the declaration relates to a protected structure that is regularly used as a place of public worship, the planning authority

(a) in addition to having regard to the guidelines and recommendations referred to in subsection (4), shall respect liturgical requirements, and

(b) for the purpose of ascertaining those requirements shall—

(i) comply with any guidelines concerning consultation which may be issued by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, or
(ii) if no such guidelines are issued, consult with such person or body as the planning authority considers appropriate.
(6) When considering an application for permission for the development of land under section 34 which—

(a) relates to the interior of a protected structure, and

(b) is regularly used as a place of public worship,

the planning authority, and the Board on appeal, shall, in addition to any other requirements of the Act, respect liturgical requirements.

(7) A planning authority may at any time review a declaration issued under this section but the review shall not affect any works carried out in reliance on the declaration prior to the review.

(8) A planning authority shall cause—

(a) the details of any declaration issued by that authority under this section to be entered on the register kept by the authority under section 7, and

(b) a copy of the declaration to be made available for inspection by members of the public during office hours, at the office of the authority, following the issue of the declaration.

(9) A declaration under this section shall not prejudice the application of section 5 to any question that arises as to what, in a particular case, is or is not exempted development.

(10) (a) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a planning authority or the Board on appeal—

(i) in considering any application for permission in relation to a protected structure, shall have regard to the protected status of the structure, or
(ii) in considering any application for permission in relation to a proposed protected structure, shall have regard to the fact that it is proposed to add the structure to a record of protected structures.
(b) A planning authority, or the Board on appeal, shall not grant permission for the demolition of a protected structure or proposed protected structure, save in exceptional circumstances.


The use of the word any is very clear and its intention could not be clearer
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:06 pm

Graham Hickey wrote:So is it just up to the opinions of the building inspector signing off works or planner inspecting planning permissions for both new and existing buildings - i.e. their interpretations of the guidelines?
It's up to them to decide if they'll allow something or not as there is little laid down in stone in regulations?


I wouldn’t expect a planning officer to provide an opinion on this. The architect or other competent person who sign-off on the building being compliant should bear that responsibility.
The guidance is open to interpretation but the intent is absolutely clear. If you are not going to err on the side of caution then you had better have a very good reason why not. Aesthetic considerations wouldn’t impress in a coroners court.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:09 pm

Graham Hickey wrote::)

Are the glazing bars on the likes of Wynns even attached to the glass towards the centre of the window?
And are bars usually placed on the inside too, or just the external elevation?


The glazing bars at Wynns are attached with a double-sided tape running the length of the bar. If they are attached properly they are almost impossible to remove without the glass braking. The glazing bars would normally be attached to both the exterior and interior of the double-glazed unit.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Monty Gerhardy » Sun Jun 05, 2005 11:11 pm

Thomond Park wrote:The use of the word any is very clear and its intention could not be clearer


Therein lies the nub of the problem.
This thread has had three considered opinions that the windows in Wynns look rather good. If you mention double-glazing to the conservation office at DCC they would have a shit-haemorrhage yet section 84 para. 2a calls for “ the promotion of a high standard of civic amenity and civic design” and para 2c “renewal ….upgrading of shop frontages” .

FWIW I think the plastic parting bead beads on the windows at Farmleigh are far more visually obtrusive then the windows at Wynns.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Mon Jun 06, 2005 11:26 pm

You're having a laugh?!

Saying that, the OPW have had practice with the PVCs in Leinster House & National Museum. It is a disgrace that they are using PVC, firstly in historic buildings, and secondly as a mere temporary measure. Are these going to be recycled afterwards? And what of the costs involved?
Why can't simple wooden boards be erected in place of the windows being restored like in any normal restoration project?
If necessary they could be painted black with the sash outline painted on to maintain continuity.

Here's a no doubt well worn example of appalling PVC frames inserted into a key historic building - the pub on the corner of Amiens St and Talbot St in Dublin. It is but the third building to greet visitors to the city from Connolly Station, and the most notable from being positioned directly in front of the pedestrian lights.

Image

The windows out of view in this pic on the apex of the building are truly ghastly. They're the same as the ones facing Amiens St there, but as the primary feature of the apex they are an abomination, not least because they're the older variety of PVC and have become very tatty, and also have never been cleaned it seems.

Interestingly though, from this first floor vantage point across the road you can see a single original timber sash still extant to the rear of the building. Wouldn't be surprised if this was retained just to appease the fire officer as none of the other windows can be escaped through :rolleyes:
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Devin » Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:34 pm

Image

It’a fine corner building…but yes, the PVCs are ruining it. You can’t see it in this photo, but the corner bay is slightly curved (check prev. post), but the PVC windows on this bay are flat :rolleyes: . DCC have been asked to add it to the Record of Prot. Strucs. - no joy yet...



Here's a picture of part of the front of it when it still had sash windows (below), from Dublin - A Grand Tour (by Guinness & O'Brien).
Remember the good old / bad old days when you entered grimy old Connolly from an escalator off the Amiens St. footpath (or stairs if you wanted)?
.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:10 am

I only vaguely remember these in real life, though often looked with interest at that exact image you posted Devin by O'Brien with the lamp standards etc.

Here's a close-up of the entrance :)

Image

Were they original Victorian railings to the right?
As for the lampposts, it's a great pity they were removed; they created a grand entrance for the station, now sadly nothing but a crudely gouged gaping hole in the facade, leading in turn to a manky dungeon of a foyer :(
Often wondered what happened to the posts - saw a couple of similar ones a few years ago lying down the back at Pearse Station, maybe it was them...

As for the windows of Connolly, thank goodness they weren't replaced down through the years, though as said before larger facades tended not to be touched as it was simply too expensive :rolleyes:
Connolly has transitional sashes that are very unusual in Ireland, though common as anything in the UK. As the station dates from c1845, the windows marginally pre-date the mass introduction of larger sheet glass but it's possible it uses it as the odd house out in Dun Laoghaire from this time seem to feature it.

Pic here of one of them newly restored from a while back:

Image

Also often wondered if they are iron windows in use at the top of the terminating towers of the building?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby bitasean » Sat Jun 11, 2005 5:35 pm

this is a great thread, I've learned more about windows here than I did during my five years at college. What's most impressive is the before and after pics., these should be broadcast every day with the angelus, I'm sure there'd be enough examples to keep going for a good few years. Actually come to think of it, has there been any exhibitions like that in Ireland showcasing bad developments?

Wouldnt it be great if every town council had an image database showing the changing facades of its streets, at least then public opinion might be roused against the destruction being carried out on their built environment. Surely this wouldnt be too much to ask in the age of the digital camera. Also, why is it that Ireland in particular is so subject to the tyranny of PVC? having lived in Paris and Oslo I find it confusing as to why I never remember seeing it anywhere there.

In relation to non-timber alternatives, I was amazed to find out how energy efficient aluminium was when used as a recycled material compared to other materials, but how does one go about doing this in Ireland, and is there a whopping great fee for one's efforts to be environmentally friendly?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Kevin 123 » Thu Jul 14, 2005 1:50 am

As a new person in the 'Pvc trade'I would just like to share some of my opinions. I agree that pvc windows are not well suited to many older buildings, however in many cases it's the style of the window which is wrong not the window system. I think that you are offering a very biased view on the situation. Pvc has many advantages over wood, in todays busy society where we are hearing more and more about 'time poverty' wooden windows are Idealistic but not practical in many new houses. In the areas of security, insulation and mantainance the advantages are clear, with shootbolt locking systems, 28mm glazing, five chamber profiles etc. pvc has a lot to offer. In twenty years of varnishing, treating and mantaining timber windows all a quality pvc window will need is an occasional cleaning. I was recently called out to do a service in a house which has replacement pvc windows fitted since 1986. All that was needed was a new profile cylinder as the keys had worn and would not turn in the lock. This was the first service and it looks like they'll last as many more years.
Many suppliers of wooden windows are selling them simply because they are wooden, they are often the same style as pvc windows but less secure, have higher U-values and will need to be replaced much sooner.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Devin » Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:05 am

Ok, but the thread is primarily about the visual effects of PVC in older buildings, and I think we have a right to bang on about that here, given the easy ride PVC has had here for 2 decades now. By contrast, you can walk for for miles through the historic areas of Edinburgh or London without passing a PVC window.

Anyway, regarding windows generally, PVC still has a massive share of the market, so I don't think you'll be short of work.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:15 am

Hi Kevin, agreed there is a certain biased view, but that tends to arise out of a lack of supporters on 'the other side' rather than a deliberate attempt to misrepresent things.

There is no doubting the low maintenance appeal of PVC - it can't be denied how convenient it is. Likewise the 5-point locking systems are impressive security devices, I've seen quite a few in operation and there's no doubting their effectiveness.
And as was pointed out the material is improving in aesthethic profile and finish, albeit slowly.

But PVC is simply not appropriate in older buildings, not just 'some' but all older structures. It looks and feels wrong.
You make a good point about many of the issues being design problems, rather than PVC-specific problems, but PVC is by and large the main problem, accounting for the vast vast majority of the replacement market.

I passed yet another delightful Victorian red brick only yesterday, in an Architectural Conservation Area or soon-to-be such, that has newly fitted PVC sashes that look utterly awful - not a design issue here, but a material one - PVC.
Even if it can be moulded to perfection, it is still not acceptable in any older building as a replacement material.
Timber is the established, traditional, vernacular material of these buildings in this country and ought to be respected and maintained as such.
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