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Kawneer's healthcare windows and curtain walling feature at Atherleigh Park.

Windows specifically designed by leading UK manufacturer Kawneer for the healthcare sector are bringing four-fold benefits to a new £40 million mental health hospital.

Kawneer's AA®3110HW windows maximise ventilation while minimising the risk of self harming. They feature anti-ligature elements such as a wraparound gasket that breaks into harmless pieces when there is an attempt to remove it, together with a drive mechanism for opening the window that cannot be used as a ligature point.

At Atherleigh Park hospital in Leigh, Wigan, the windows were installed alongside Kawneer's AA®100 zone-drained curtain walling and AA®543 tilturn and AA®541 top-hung casement windows by Polar (NE) Ltd.

The AA®3110HW window used at Atherleigh Park was enhanced by Polar for use in this project - a medium-secure mental health facility. The fabricator designed special extrusions (which Kawneer have now developed from Polar's designs), a reduced ligature drive mechanism for opening the window and a unique removable security mesh. 

Built by Kier Construction on the former Leigh East Amateur Rugby League ground, the 3.9-hectare site provides high-quality inpatient services for adults with mental health problems and patients with dementia and memory loss conditions. Specifically, it provides 100% single-bed with en-suite occupancy comprising 40 adult acute beds over two wards and the eight-bed PICU complete with public access entrance building and ancillary accommodation.

The two-storey building is constructed of steel and timber panel SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and SFS (Steel Framing Systems), with all the wards and services for inpatients and Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on the ground floor and staff accommodation on the first floor. Externally, cedar and red brick cladding is complemented by large areas of full-height glazing while internally the colour scheme is bright and fresh.

For regular Kawneer specifiers AFL Architects, key drivers for the project were to design a building that acted as a catalyst to help implement a new clinical care pathway for North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, improved the patient experience and staff effectiveness, and de-stigmatised mental health.

Providing a healthy environment for patients was  one of the main priorities of the project.  The hospital's facilities include a sports hall, gym, outdoor courtyards, therapy rooms, landscaped gardens, a nature trail and a cafe for patients, visitors, staff and the general public.

AFL associate Neil Milling said that as the site was in a residential area the plans required early presentations and regular updates with local residents.

“The Kawneer systems provide security and aesthetics and maximise daylight and ventilation for the service users,” he said. “Aluminium's sustainability played a small part. Robustness and costings played a larger part.”

He added: “Our integrated design ensured bespoke products allowed the design to be implemented through construction.”

North West Boroughs Healthcare's project manager Paul Jackson won a design champion award at the Design in Mental Health Awards 2017 for his part in the project.

Polar also developed an anti-climb window for this project.

For a virtual tour of Atherleigh Park, go to: http://www.nwbh.nhs.uk/atherleigh-park.


Photo: Infinite 3D Photography

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