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Vinyl Windows in a Highrise: Centra has Done it Again!

Strata and Property Management

In the past, the Window Geeks have smashed the assumption that vinyl windows aren’t suitable for highrise buildings. There are some strict rules, which include but are not limited to:

  1. The glass to wall ratio must be 40% or less.
  2. The distance between window jams across fire separations is 1 metre or greater.
  3. The distance between the head and sill of windows must be 1 metre or greater.

The method may seem like it carries a lot of extra stipulations, but that hasn’t stopped Centra from bringing the benefits of vinyl to highrises in the past. So, why are we talking about this now? Because we’ve only gone and done it again!

Centra has had another great success story, supplying high-performance vinyl windows for a highrise at Vista Senior Living on Vancouver Island. Not only will the residents now enjoy all the fantastic benefits of our windows, but the renovation bill was also slashed considerably. When opting for vinyl windows in your highrise, the pros far outweigh the cons. While there may be extra work involved, you’re looking at significant cost savings, with heavy emphasis on the significant.

We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars here.

Let’s drill down into the specifics of this exciting project with our Victoria-based Window Geek, Joe Pipitone, who was a key player in its success.

What was required from the client to make this project happen?

“First and foremost, a partnership had to be developed between the client and the consultants. The investment of time made between all parties set up the success of the rest of the project. In terms of financial investment, the developer was required to work with their current design team and engineers to approve the new vinyl window specifications, which differed from the initial aluminum window specs.

Both design and performance changes can impact a project and bring extra work, but with the major cost savings provided by the alternate vinyl product, that work was more than worth it. Overall, it was an all-hands-on-deck approach that made this project work.”

Were there any learning curves or unexpected challenges? How flexible does the client need to be to overcome these challenges?

“I believe the biggest challenges the client faced on site were the installation details and working with their building envelope contractor and building envelope engineer on mock-up installations to ensure the new window and door systems interfaced with the existing exterior and interior systems. Not only was the client required to be flexible in these scenarios, but the contractors and consultants involved really needed to think outside the box and work together to ensure best practices were implemented for installation and interfacing techniques.”

What was the result?

“Overall, the client made incredible cost savings over aluminum windows. In a project this size, vinyl products can be as low as 1/3 of the cost of aluminum windows and doors. There are other factors that need to be considered from the developer’s side like reworking interior finishing and exterior finishing details, possible structural header details, etc… These constitute additional costs, but they rarely make a major impact when taking into account the overall NET cost savings of using vinyl.”

What is your recommendation for someone considering vinyl windows in a highrise?

“It’s definitely possible to make the switch to vinyl from aluminum windows after the design and tender of a project, but the process is far easier and less time-consuming if you opt for vinyl from the get-go. My recommendation is to look at alternate window packages at that design stage instead of just defaulting to aluminum as so many used to in the past.

Contact your Centra Windows Expert, and we’ll be more than happy to provide you with feedback on the feasibility and design recommendations required for your highrise development to be eligible for vinyl window installation. We’re here to make your project a success, and getting started early is the key!”

We Are Your Certified Window Geeks

We love to talk windows! The demand for glass is at its all-time highest, but we are working with our customers to ensure you get the products you need. Contact us as early in the process as possible so we can help secure your order and keep your project on schedule. We will guide you early on so that your supply requirements are met.

For more information on this topic (and many more!) contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or drop us an email at Join the club and become a Window Geek yourself by signing up for our biweekly newsletter, which provides news, advice, and tips about the window industry and upcoming events, and test your window knowledge by following us on LinkedIn.

Written by: Les Ferris , January 6, 2022
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