As you may or may not know, here at Evander we supply, repair and fit more than just windows, doors and locks for residential homes around the UK. A large part of our business is done for commercial clients and spans a huge variety of jobs, from replacing damaged shopfronts to constructing and fitting ambitious architectural glazing. We’ve even provided glazing for zoo enclosures, which goes to show just how varied the commercial side of the business can be.
Panels of glass are common in business premises, whether private or public. This can be anything from large windows to a complete building façade (this is called curtain walling). Glass partitions, doorways and even glass roofs are all common features, particularly in more modern premises, although older buildings can also exhibit impressive glazing features.
The Royal Opera House
One such older building is the Royal Opera House, located in Covent Garden in London. It’s a building which has been through a number of refurbishments in its time, particularly after the fires of 1808 and 1857. In the 1980s and 1990s, the theatre underwent a lot of restoration and modernisation work, which included incorporating the old Covent Garden exotic flower market hall into the theatre itself.
Located directly next door, the old flower market – now called Paul Hamlyn Hall – is a beautiful Victorian glasshouse structure which was completed in 1860. The iron framework supports thousands of glass panels, creating an impressive space which is currently used as a champagne bar & restaurant for the theatre. Very rarely, the Royal Opera House allows the Paul Hamlyn Hall to be used for high profile events. These have included the GQ Men of the Year Awards, the Rolex Protégé Programme Awards and even the BAFTA’s.
The hall was fully restored in 1997, but as with any older building (and especially one with such complex glazing features) there were a few issues. Although the structure of the building still had plenty of integrity, the hall was experiencing leaks from the barrelled roof during periods of heavy rain. Attempts had been made by other contractors to repair these leaks, but this remained unsuccessful.
As previous surface repairs had failed, we decided to conduct a full water test and intrusive survey of the roof of the hall in order to work out where the leaks were really coming from and to tailor the best solution. The leaks were not coming from an obvious source, so our team performed numerous tests before the weak spots were identified.
Repair & Replacement
The weak points in the roof were quickly repaired, ending years of confusion over the leaks and ensuring the Royal Opera House no longer had to spend money on surface repairs that didn’t solve the problem. As part of our work on the hall, we were also asked to replace two window units – one at the very top of the roof and a curved glazed panel to the upper side.
We manufactured these bespoke units in triple laminated, coated glass so that they perfectly matched the existing units. But we were faced with a further challenge – the City of Westminster council would have to approve a road closure for us in order to use a crane and this could take a number of months. Thankfully, our innovative engineers created a custom-made lifting rig, which meant minimum disruption to Covent Garden and the theatre itself. Our rope access glazing technicians did a brilliant job in replacing the glass, and now the Paul Hamlyn Hall is completely watertight, ensuring an enjoyable experience for everyone who works within and visits this iconic part of London.
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