Mar 26, 2019 Last Updated 1:03 PM, Mar 22, 2019

Creating complex care environments

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When specifying building products for a public sector care home environment, it goes without saying that, alongside budget considerations, it’s vital to have residents’ needs front of mind. A successful care home needs to function on a practical, clinical level while being flexible enough to cater to residents’ individual requirements when required.


The care of older people is one of the major issues facing our society – according to figures from the last census, one in six people in England and Wales is now aged 65 and over, a figure which is growing.

Clearly, the care home environment needs to be equipped with the features to help this ageing demographic to live comfortable, healthy lives. What’s more, as dementia care becomes ever more complex, specialist care homes are increasingly needed.

An effective, specialist care home design will create a supportive and healthy environment for residents, which seamlessly complements the work being done by staff.

For public sector projects, budgets are often the primary concern at the specification phase. However, this can’t be the only consideration – the key is to find intelligent building solutions which meet demands both now and in the future.

In the case of doors and windows, many significant advancements have been made in PVC-U manufacturing and fabrication in recent years.

PVC-U is a cost-effective, highly engineered building material which presents care home operators with significant benefits: from creating warm, comfortable settings, to providing security and increasing wellbeing by allowing natural light into spaces. It is a misconception to think that PVC-U is of a lower quality than timber and aluminium. As well as being 20% cheaper than the alternatives, PVC-U possesses superior thermal, weather and acoustic performance and stands up on aesthetic and cost factors also – all vital considerations for a care home.

What’s more, the foiling technology available means PVC-U windows and doors can be specified in a wide range of colours to meet the exact aesthetic requirements at the heart of dementia care home projects.

Not only does this offer mass visual appeal at a fraction of the cost, it also means the product can last for 35 years – the BRE lifecycle – if properly maintained.

Spectus, a specialist PVC-U manufacturer, worked closely with Cumbria County Council to develop a long-term, innovative doors and windows solution for a major dementia care home development.

The project team spoke to PSBJ to explain how the use of PVC-U doors and windows helped to meet an exacting, complex specification.

Future-proofing a flagship care home

Spectus supplied its Elite 70 Bevelled solution to a state-of-the-art residential care home development in Barrow-in-Furness.

Parkview Gardens is a £7m, 60-bed care facility designed for older adults, which offers specialist support for people with dementia.

Located close to the centre of Barrow-in-Furness, Parkview Gardens has replaced four older Cumbria Care homes as part of a wider modernisation programme of care for older people and those with dementia in the Barrow area. It welcomed its first residents in early 2017.

Andrew Sproat, Cumbria County Council’s Project Manager for the Parkview Gardens development, said: “This is an important project for the council and our expectations were high in terms of the quality of the development. Our aim was for Parkview to be a flagship home and, therefore, every aspect of the build and finish needed to exude quality.”

As well as a requirement to meet the aesthetics of the building, there was a need for the home to be well insulated and secure. It was also key to provide ample natural light and outdoor access, to promote positive wellbeing among the residents. There were also a range of design features specifically aimed at helping residents with dementia; including door sashes in a range of colours, which would match the colour scheme of their room so that residents could easily identify where they are located in the building.

To meet this exacting specification of the home, Spectus Elite 70 Bevelled windows and doors were chosen for the project to ensure a quality look and superior performance.

Yorkshire-based Spectus-approved window contractor, Jade Windows, was the fabricator and installer on this project. Jade’s Sales Manager, Ryan Fozard, said: “This was a big project involving the fabrication and instalment of several hundred windows and doors so we were pleased to be working with our long-term trusted partner, Spectus.

“We’ve been installing the Spectus Elite system for more than 20 years on a wide range of commercial projects, which really speaks for itself. The system is versatile, simple to fabricate and easy to install and, in this case, it also allowed us to install door sashes in different colours as per the specification requirements.

“Our clients are always satisfied with the systems’ look and feel as well as its performance.”

Jade Windows is a long-standing member of the Spectus Approved Window Contractor Network.

Iain Murphy, Lead Architect on the project and Founder of Alston Murphy Associates, said: “The Spectus windows and doors used on this project fit well with the overall look of the scheme and I am satisfied with their performance.  

“I’ve had a positive experience of working with Jade Windows, encountering no issues during the installation process and Jade has gone on to install more Spectus windows for us at another residential care home development.”

Andrew concluded: “We couldn’t be happier with Parkview Gardens, it’s exactly the quality of finish we were hoping to achieve for residents. We’re extremely happy with the look and performance of the windows and doors as they more than meet the complex needs of this development.

“The Jade team were a pleasure to work with and have delivered a solution which more than matched our rigorous standards for this flagship project.”

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