Bespoke Glazing Package on Grand Designs: Dunstable 2022
Clayworth Cottage is located in Kensworth, a quiet village in the heart of Bedfordshire where John and wife Helen decided to demolish an old house and build their dream home.
The high tech, million pound home was featured on Grand Designs yesterday, documenting the process from start to finish including some complex and challenging aspects.
The bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs included a number of bespoke engineered glazing solutions including slim framed sliding glass doors, glass casement doors and structural glazing which was used to create large elevations of frameless glass.
The technical team worked with architects Arkle Boyce London to tailor the bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs to suit the homeowner’s specific, individual needs.
The couple had been living relatively separate lives in their former farmhouse home, due to Helen requiring additional space and specialist furniture to navigate the home in her wheelchair. The brief for the new build home in Dunstable was to bring the couple’s lives back together, with accessible home design choices that allow Helen to travel around the home independently whilst accommodating both homeowners needs.
Our team of installers arrived on site to discover quite a tricky access route which meant the pathway to the rear of the property, where we were installing our large sliding glass doors, was difficult to reach due to the site and weather conditions.
This part of the building had been designed with a roof overhang which meant it was not possible to use a mobile crane for this part of the installation as the overhang was too low. Instead we worked with a specialist glass lifting subcontractor to provide the use of two glazing robots, which were the best option for moving the glass from the stillages to the trolley.
Some of the glass panels in the bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs that were lifted into the open plan kitchen and dining space weighed over 400kg, resulting in a larger installation team being required on site as well as specialist glass lifting equipment. One glazing robot was stationed inside the building whilst the other was assisting with the lifting from the outside.
The glass was mounted onto the trolley at the front of the building site, before being carefully transported to the rear of the building via a makeshift track.
The track was created by placing a number of heavy duty ground protection matts over the churned up earth that wrapped around the side of the building. The homeowners had great plans for the garden area, installing a pond and planting an abundance of greenery to bring the space to life and encourage wildlife.
When the lifting and filming commenced it became clear that there was another issue; the earth track was too steep and high for access. Without risking damaging or even dropping the glass there was no way to transport the glass down the slope. The IQ Glass installation team worked with the builders on site to dig the slope out, minimising the slope to eliminate the risk of the glass colliding with the roof overhang in transport.
Installing oversized sliding glass doors under a roof overhang can be complex and there are certain factors that must be taken into consideration, such as height restrictions. The roof overhang was designed to provide built in shading to the glazing below and was already constructed when we went to site to install the bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs. The sliding glass doors were designed to stretch from floor to ceiling which meant the glass units were only a few cm shorter than the height we were working within.
The IQ Glass installation team overcame this challenge by carefully maneuvering the glass off the trolley once it had reached the bottom of the slope, using one of the glazing robots to lift the glass underneath the roof overhang at a sloping angle before it was moved to the exact installation location.
Once inside, the team used a combination of a glass lifting robot and manual suction pads to lift the glass into the track. The minimal windows® sliding glass doors that were part of the bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs were lifted into the head frame and then lowered down into the base track; a movement which was done manually with the assistance of a glazing robot to support the weight of the unit.
Another challenge that was presented mid-way through the installation was when the glass robot broke whilst lifting. The IQ Glass installation team held the glass in place whilst the machinery was fixed, supporting the weight between the large on-site team.
One aspect of the build that was unusual was the poured concrete floor being poured before the building was made watertight or the glazing was installed. Usually the floor finishes and internal finishes are completed after the glazing is installed and the building is watertight, even Grand Designs Kevin McCloud passed comment about how unusual this was! The bespoke kitchen as also installed prior to the building being watertight, with the kitchen designer voicing concerns about the wooden kitchen expanding and contracting with the weather changes.
The flush threshold aspect of the sliding glass doors in the bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs was essential to provide a functional home for the wheelchair user homeowner and the concrete flooring was a concern at this stage. Luckily the concrete was almost exactly in line with the threshold other than a few locations where there was a slight difference, which the builder will finish with silicone.
The on site team also had the weather to contend with, having to take frequent breaks due to rain and wind. The frequent periods of downtime came after the wind blew a ladder onto the grand piano, grinding the installation process to a halt at various points throughout the day.
Once the installation was complete the homeowners said the building had transformed their lives, giving Helen the opportunity to move around the property independently and allowing her to enjoy views of the surrounding nature thanks to the floor to ceiling glazing.
The end of the episode showed Helen starting to walk again, a huge step in her rehabilitation process made possible by the accessible home design which includes a physiotherapy centre in the basement, accessible via a home lift.
The bespoke glazing package on Grand Designs grants uninterrupted views of the outdoor environment, where a new pond encourages wildlife to congregate. Forging a strong bond to nature and homing in on the homeowners love for wildlife, the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors have enhanced the building massively.
To read the blog about our other project featured on Grand Designs 2022, click here.
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