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Housebuilding case study: Silkash, Westhoughton

08. February 2023


Silkash, by North West-based homebuilder Northstone, is a design-led neighbourhood of 150 family homes, each featuring VELFAC aluminium/timber double and triple glazed windows. Northstone Operations Director Craig Nutter specified VELFAC for a number of reasons but particularly wanted to install windows which could deliver plentiful natural light, a key feature of every Silkash home.

Project information

Area: Silkash, Westhoughton, Bolton

Project: 150 family homes

Specified for: Composite construction • Large glazed units without intermediate frame • Energy efficiency • Acoustic performance • Market differentiation opportunity

Window system: VELFAC 200


Design solutions for large glass areas

‘The VELFAC system offered design solutions to issues we were struggling to resolve with other forms of manufacture,’ Craig says. ‘For example, the combination of timber and aluminium gives a VELFAC window great strength and rigidity and allowed us to install very large glazed areas without the need for intermediate framing. This was very important as it meant we could achieve the aesthetic we wanted, one which really sets Silkash apart from other new build neighbourhoods.’ The large windows also supported Northstone’s aim of ‘bringing the outside in’, where the garden is considered an extension of the living space and extensive planting and green spaces feature as part of the development. The slim VELFAC frame profile also works well with the contemporary architectural style. ‘The opening portion of the window blends seamlessly with the frame which removes the need for ‘dummy sashes’ to balance external frame appearance, and creates a slim and refined look to the window,’ adds Craig.

‘Contentment and wellness’

VELFAC windows easily achieved the low energy targets set for Silkash, but also met other performance challenges: ‘Our aim is to create homes which deliver a feeling of contentment and wellness for residents, and as part of this we all know that getting a good night’s sleep is vital,’ explains Craig. ‘As a result, we specified VELFAC triple glazing for all first-floor windows and the noise reduction within the bedrooms is so noticeable that buyers often comment on this particular feature. Given the size of the windows installed, triple glazing also allows for greater control of solar gain and means that the temperature in each bedroom is better regulated.’

Choice of colours and finishes

Every VELFAC window at Silkash features an Agate Grey external aluminium frame while internal timber fames are painted white. Craig adds: ‘When it comes to external frames in contemporary facades it seems like most housebuilders simply default to Anthracite Grey - which certainly doesn’t have to be the case! We chose a lighter finish for the external aluminium VELFAC frame, so that the window wouldn’t dominate the facade, while internally we wanted to create a seamless flow from the white walls to the glazed areas, in turn emphasising the amount of glazing provided in every home. The white finish also reinforces our uncluttered approach to interior design, based on Scandinavian principles of simplicity and on maintaining clean and tidy lines.’

Project images
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Key VELFAC benefits - expert support plus market differentiation

The VELFAC team were closely involved in the specification process at Silkash, with every window design carefully refined to produce a Northstone window catalogue. ‘We wanted to sustain our window design across the different house types at Silkash, and ensure that every window profile remained consistent whether it was double or triple glazed, which is something the VELFAC frame can deliver. These considerations are vitally important to us. We’re a new homebuilder and Silkash was our very first development, so we wanted to get it right and create something different.’

Craig is also convinced that this combination of attention to detail and product quality helped Silkash achieve invaluable market differentiation: ‘Without a doubt, VELFAC windows have a massive impact on the way our homes look, and have been a big influence on many of our buyers as they are looking for something different,’ he says. ‘The high quality manufacture, finish and appearance of the windows is something we recognise has given us a marketing edge and it’s certainly paid off, as shown by the number of sales we have achieved in our short history as a homebuilder.’

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Topics: Case studies, Design and aesthetics, Energy efficiency, Architecture

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