Blistering heat in the summer, freezing cold in the winter and year-round lack of ventilation in the towers has made working conditions very difficult. In addition, the five-sided glass structures also suffered blinding glare from the water.
The towers were constructed in 1966 when the new ferry terminals were opened and have remained unchanged since. Kes Kneller of Kestrel Home Improvement explains the decision behind the specification of the revolutionary Pilkington Activ™ Blue glass. “Since the construction of the towers, health and safety requirements have changed dramatically,” he says. “The Working at Height Directive has been introduced, which recognises the hazards involved with cleaning the exterior of the towers, as well as legislation that protects the health of the operatives within the towers. When the decision was made to replace the glass within the towers, Pilkington Activ™ Blue presented the ideal solution.”
Kestrel Home Improvements were asked to submit a tender for the project, which they were subsequently awarded. “Having worked with Pilkington Activ™ Blue in the domestic market, we were confident of its abilities,” continues Kes. “However, there was a stringent approval chain which involved not only the Ports Authority and Woolwich Borough Council, but also the mayor of London. Pilkington Activ™ Blue met all the criteria and testing and we are now set to install the glass within PVCu frames. We were assisted ably by Olympic Glass, who supplied the glass, GJB Developments, who manufactured the frames and Headstart consultants, who assisted with the health and safety logistics.”
Pilkington Activ™ Blue is not only self-cleaning, but also has solar control properties helping to keep it cool in the summer. Its blue tint reduces glare and protects against direct sunlight. The self-cleaning ability works via a virtually invisible dual-action coating, which reacts with UV rays to break down organic dirt on the surface of the glass. It also encourages rainwater flow down the glass in an even sheeting effect preventing rain droplets forming and washing away any remaining dirt.
“The use of Pilkington Activ™ Blue in this highly individual project demonstrates its flexibility to be used in any situation where cleaning presents a problem,” comments Matt Buckley, Marketing Director of Pilkington UK. “Coupled with its high visual appeal, as well as the high performance characteristics synonymous with the Pilkington brand, its installation on the observation towers at the Woolwich ferry site proves its all-round versatility.”