Facades | Lessons in louvre

Facades | Lessons in louvre

Barrier Louvres were specified for The Cycle Works‘ new-build student accommodation at Coventry University, to help provide a healthy and comfortable environment for students, LABM finds out more.

Health, safety and wellbeing are crucial for students and parents alike. Nowhere is this more apparent than in student accommodation. Contemporary halls of residence are designed and built to enable students to live and study in a healthy, safe environment, catering for different needs and circumstances. Over the next few years, Coventry University will invest £89m, providing rooms for an additional 1,800 students, and contributing to the continued regeneration of the city centre and the regional economy.

Voted #13 university in the UK (source: The Guardian University Guide 2019), Coventry University is committed to providing good quality, modern accommodation. Constructed in time for September 2017 starters, The Cycle Works is a purpose-built hall comprising single ensuite bedrooms and studio bedrooms, arranged in flats of 5-12 residents. The Raglan Street hall of residence was developed by Sir Robert McAlpine on behalf of the University.

With around 350 bedrooms and 500 windows, it was important that the product specification and build balanced natural light and ventilation, with safety. The architectural vision also had to be considered, a modern blend of aluminium and glass.

Safety barrier
The Cycle Works boasts the first major installation of Rehau’s GENEO Alu-top profiles – windows with the visual appearance of aluminium but all the benefits of PVC-U. The windows chosen for the Raglan Street accommodation feature 850mm wide Tilt and Turn sashes, glazed or infilled with insulated panels. The windows ensure that once open, a sufficient amount of air can circulate.

As an additional safety measure, the windows are fitted with restrictors to prevent falling from height. Yet, it was recognised that in order to create a healthy and comfortable environment for the students, good airflow would also be required. With this in mind, aluminium barrier louvres were specified and installed in selected window and door apertures throughout the building.

The barrier louvre, effectively a grill designed to cover areas where fall from height could be an issue, negates the need for windows and doors to have restrictor systems fully engaged, all of the time. They help limit the risk of persons falling or items being thrown or accidently dropped out of the opening, from height, onto the area or people below. It is essentially, a safety barrier.

Barrier Louvres
Barrier louvres negate the need for windows to have restrictor systems fully engaged.

Powder coating
Working with specialist installation company, Campbell Mason, IKON Aluminium Systems supplied their IKL505 aluminium barrier louvre system to the project. The IKL505 60mm elliptical blade barrier louvres were installed in 280 apertures across the new-build accommodation block. To complement the brick and render façade of The Cycle Works, the barrier louvres were powder coated in Grey (RAL 7043).

Powder coating is, as the name suggests, a type of coating that is applied as a solid powder rather than the liquid of more conventional coatings. The powder coated film is tough and resilient. Available in a spectrum of aesthetically pleasing colours and surface finishes, through companies such as global paints and coatings company AkzoNobel, powder coating can also boost the aesthetic appeal of building products and feature details. Grey is an increasingly popular choice with developers, local authorities and residents.


Barrier Louvres
IKL505 60mm elliptical blade barrier louvres being made.

Building Regulations compliant
Designed specifically for student accommodation, the barrier louvres are independently tested and developed to comply with Building Regulation Part K (protection from falling, collision and impact). The aluminium barrier louvre system installed at The Cycle Works is impact resistance tested to BS EN 13049:2003, achieving Class 5, and wind resistance tested to BS EN12211:2000 and BS EN 12210:2000, achieving Class 4. The windows had to withstand wind loads as well as any dead loads of students leaning against the louvres.

The barrier louvres are an integral part of the correct functioning of the residence. Rob Talliss, Director of Estate Development at Coventry University says: “We were very pleased with the work undertaken and the product itself.”

In the National Student Survey 2017, Coventry University achieved 87% overall positive student satisfaction, compared to the UK average of 84%. It was also named ‘University of the Year for Student Experience’ (source: The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019).

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