Steel window renovation allows Art Deco building to be reborn

A landmark in Newcastle city centre since it opened in the 1930s, the old Co-op department store building has undergone extensive refurbishment and is to become a 184-bedroom Premier Inn hotel, with retail outlets and a large gym. The original steel windows are a key feature of the building and have been renovated by Steel Window Association member the Window Repair Company to the highest standards.

The iconic Grade II listed Art Deco building extends to nearly 15,794m² over six floors. The facades contain some 2,000m² of steel windows including three 27m tall windows in each of the two towers. The Window Repair Company worked closely with developer and main contractor Interserve and conservation officers from Newcastle City Council during the ten month project and had a workforce of six on site throughout.

Most of the renovation work was done on site although, where significant welding was required, windows were taken back to the workshop. Sashes that were out of alignment were re-squared and all corrosion was removed by grinding back to bright metal and then treating with rust inhibitors and convertors. Any pitting or scoring was filled with two-part metallic cement. The repairs to each section were then sanded to a smooth finish, painted with metal primer and left prepared and ready for coating by professional decorators. Only 12 of the original windows could not be saved and these were replicated using W20 sections and then hot dipped galvanized and polyester powder coated.

Some of the steel and brass window furniture was ornate and all items were carefully overhauled and refurbished. Missing parts were sourced or manufactured; the brass items sand cast.

In working on the windows, the Window Repair Company was careful to addresses the issue of the original paint’s high lead content. This was managed following CLAW 2002 regulations guidance through strict working practices, including full protective suits, respirators, containment areas, medical surveillance, safe disposal and certification.

Shaun Paramor, commercial manager at Interserve Construction, comments: “The repair of the steel windows was a key heritage item on the project and a labour intensive process that has gone very well.  The Window Repair Company have been involved with the project from the very start and they have always been helpful on site and their experience of steel windows has been an asset to the project and the quality of the repaired windows is excellent. We have only good things to say about them and would be more than happy to use them again.”

For further information on the Steel Window Association, please visit www.steel-window-association.co.uk or call 0844 249 1355.