The main purpose of a care home is to provide a pleasant and comfortable environment in which to address the health and care needs of residents.
As with any building, ensuring protection for occupants should a fire break out is a vital consideration, but any safety measures must not come at the expense of residents’ ability to feel completely at home.
This was the challenge facing NorseCare, Norfolk’s largest residential care home provider, when it invested £6.9 million in a state-of-the-art specialist dementia facility for the town.
NorseCare wanted to ensure that both staff and those living at Lydia Eva Court would have as long as possible to safely vacate the premises should a blaze break out. To gain specialist advice, specialist glass processor and distributor Nicholls & Clarke (N&C) Glass were approached.
To create a bright and airy interior, internal glazing played a significant role in the design, opening up internal spaces and allowing light to flow through the building.
N&C Glass recommended Pilkington Pyrostop®, a fire-resistant glass which remains intact for a minimum of 60 minutes, extending the crucial time needed for both staff and residents to exit during an emergency.
The 18mm glass minimises the amount of heat that is able to pass through, creating a safe environment in adjoining spaces. Youngs Doors fitted the 170m² 347 panes which were framed into primed softwood and had a total length screening of 350m.
As well as its additional safety features, the glass has created a space that is light and airy, a theme implemented throughout the care home by the interior designers Barron & Smith Architects, using guidance from the University of Sterling and the University of Worcester.
Building work for Lydia Eva Court started in April 2013 and was completed just under 18 months later.
The 88-bed purpose-built facility, named after the UK’s last surviving steam drifter, now cares for residents living with various stages of dementia, and offers state-of-the-art accommodation based on pioneering research into the condition.
Karen Knight, Managing Director at NorseCare, said: “We know that the number of people living with dementia in Norfolk is set to grow over the next few years, and we need to be ready to meet this demand by providing personalised care in specially designed surroundings.
“There were many factors to consider during the development stage, including the scenario of a fire. Our residents need differing levels of care support. We wanted to make the environment as safe as possible and ensure all residents and staff had adequate time to vacate the premises during an emergency.
“To solve this problem N&C Glass were approached and able to supply Pilkington’s specialist glass. It means that visitors, residents and staff have at least an hour to reach safety when faced with the danger of a fire.”
Pilkington Pyrostop® glazing, supplied by N&C Glass, has been used in other key health projects across the UK including the £550million Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, St Bartholomew’s Hospital’s redevelopment in London and the £430million Southmead Hospital based in Bristol.
Graham Ingle, sales manager, clear fire protection at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, said: “The Lydia Eva Court project showcases the reasons why Pilkington glass is becoming increasingly popular with architects, developers and health organisations.
“The Pilkington Pyrostop® range acts as a robust fire protection shield and in the event of a fire the glass turns opaque, providing both the integrity requirements of a barrier to hot gases and flames, as well as lessening the heat of the blaze.”