Celebrating its 90th birthday, and recently announced as being among the world’s top 1% of higher education providers, the University of Reading is embarking on an ambitious investment and renovation programme for the decade leading up to its centenary year of 2026.
Reading has already invested £400m in refurbishing and expanding its facilities in recent years – and work has just finished on the renovation of two key university buildings, carried out in conjunction with respected architectural glazing specialists Hazlemere.
Hazlemere completed installation work worth more than half a million pounds on the two properties, both located on the university’s historic Whiteknight campus, which once formed part of the estate of the Marquess of Blandford.
The university maths block was fitted with multiple vertical sliding sash windows from leading aluminium systems company Sapa, tailored to the university’s specific requirements. Sleek, strong and thermally efficient, they were delivered with tilt functionality for easy cleaning from the inside of the building, as well as special locking catches that prevent them from being opened by anyone but authorised keyholders. Work on the maths block amounted to £375k.
“Reliable, high-quality locking mechanisms are obviously a hugely important part of any window product, regardless of its destination,” commented Tony Beale, Hazlemere Sales Director, “But when it comes to schools, colleges and universities, secure locking is paramount. Modern education buildings will often contain hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of computer and other electrical equipment, not to mention the personal belongings of hundreds of staff and students. But it’s not just about keeping people out – particularly when it comes to upper floor windows, student safety is a central concern. By fitting windows with the sort of locking catches we used on the University of Reading project, you can drastically reduce the risk of students falling from high windows and seriously injuring themselves.”
Hazlemere also completed work amounting to £340k on the university’s JJ Thompson building, which houses teaching space for science subjects. The firm replaced the building’s sizeable existing windows with large Sapa pivot products, equipped with specialist heavy-duty hardware to support weights well above normal size limitations. The project also demanded the installation of a number of huge entry screens, which required cranes to lift panes of glass weighing in excess of 200kg into position.
“This was a challenging but hugely rewarding project for us,” Tony continued. “We not only manufactured and installed every product used, but also acted as principal contractor across both sites. Education projects come with their own set of considerations – first and foremost, you’re working on buildings that are constantly in use, and have to strive to complete the installation to the best possible standard while simultaneously minimising disruption and ensuring the safety of everyone still using the site. But at Hazlemere, we’re well used to that – we’re education specialists, we understand how schools, colleges and universities work, and we’ve become experts at working round staff and students to deliver first-class work, on time and on budget.”
For more information visit www.hazlemere.co.uk or call 0808 231 6594