An office building once used by HM Customs & Excise is being transformed from a dull and dated office block into aspirational luxury apartments, as part of an ambitious project being delivered by Tustin Developments. The stark lines of the 1960s building, located in the Lancashire seaside town of Lytham St Anne’s, are being replaced with balconies and winter gardens, all drawn together with modern rendered facades, large sections of glazing and aluminium-effect REHAU windows and doors.
Tustin Developments is a property development and investment company based in Preston, established in 1985. With a flat market for office space, the company recently started exploring development opportunities in the conversion of office buildings to residential properties. Having just completed an office to apartments project in Preston, the company jumped at the chance to buy Petros House when it came up for sale in Lytham St Anne’s.
Andrew Roberts, Managing Director at Tustin Developments, said: “Petros House had stood empty for five years and already had planning permission to convert it into residential accommodation, so we were delighted when it came on the market as we could see its huge potential. The previous owners had drawn up plans for the conversion into apartments, which our architect worked with to create an adventurous new vision for the 1960s building.
“From the outside, the building was very dull but structurally it was sound, so we decided to keep the floor slabs, support columns and stairwells intact and completely transform the front façade with large expanses of glass, private balconies and winter gardens. We used REHAU curtain walling, which is very on trend and gives the building a wow factor, but on a practical note it also ensures each apartment is flooded with light – a big draw for modern homebuyers.”
The plans for the development – now named Tustin Heights – include 35 one and two-bedroom luxury apartments plus a resident’s gym on the ground floor.
To achieve the glass front effect incorporated into the architect’s plans, Tustin Developments required curtain walling across large sections of the building. Andrew was asked to investigate both aluminium and PVC-U alternatives for the curtain walling, however he had some reservations about whether PVC-U products would be structurally equal to aluminium. He spoke to REHAU and its preferred fabricator and installer Per-Fit – which specialises in curtain walling – about the Polytec 50 curtain walling system and it soon became clear that strength would not be an issue.
Andrew continues: “Our main concern with the PVC-U curtain walling was that it wouldn’t be strong enough for the large sections of glazing we needed for the scheme. But when we spoke to REHAU and Per-Fit to discuss the Polytec 50 system, we discovered this system, as well as being a thermally efficient sub-frame, was also reinforced with steel to make it structurally very sound.”
Most curtain walling systems are aluminium, but REHAU’s Polytec 50 uses a composite system, with aluminium external cover caps, steel for structural strength, which is three times stronger than aluminium in terms of its E-Modulus in N/mm2, and PVCu for all internal surfaces/profiles, this, as with all fenestration solutions, helps with the thermal performance of the curtain wall. Polytec 50 has also been certified as suitable for Passivhaus projects and zero carbon buildings thanks to its excellent thermal insulation of up to U-value 0.8 W/m²K.
Mike Fish, Senior Estimator at Per-Fit, said: “We did some cost-engineering with the specification for the curtain walling, windows and doors using a selection of REHAU products. The quote came in significantly cheaper than the aluminium alternatives, and all without any drop in performance.”
On a design-led building like Tustin Heights, the aesthetics of the glazing products was very important so Per-Fit recommended a smooth anthracite foil for the PVC-U products. As well as giving a more contemporary finish, akin to aluminium, one major advantage of using white PVC-U windows with grey foil on the outer surface is that the inside façade is still white, making it bright and clean for residents.
Mike continues: “The developer was pleased to take our product recommendations, and we started on site in October 2017. The specification used REHAU’s Polytec curtain walling for the front façade, TOTAL70 fully reversible casement windows for the apartments and AGILA multi-fold doors for the ground floor flats. As we are using REHAU products across the board, there is certainly a seamless continuity in design between the windows, the doors and curtain walling, which the developer is very pleased with.”
Matt Janicki, Area Sales Manager from REHAU, said: “Per-Fit is an experienced REHAU fabricator and installer, having been using our products for more than 20 years. With a wide-ranging expertise from specialist curtain walling to domestic windows and doors, Per-Fit had a strong portfolio to offer Tustin Developments which would tick every box for their ambitious scheme and guarantee a high level of product quality and design across the range. We are very much looking forward to seeing the finished development.”
The Tustin Heights project is due for completion in autumn 2018.