Housing, Brighton, East Sussex

Project: Housing, Brighton, East Sussex

A former care home in Brighton has been converted into 10 flats for adults of all ages with physical disabilities. The conversion is seen as breaking new ground in social care, where such facilities are usually only offered to elderly people as an alternative to sheltered housing.


The £2m project has been carried out by Guinness South, a member of The Guinness Partnership, in conjunction with Brighton & Hove City Council’s adult social care services.

Designed to give residents the opportunity to live more independently and improve their quality of life, the four-storey Edwardian building in Vernon Gardens has been converted to accommodate 8 one-bed and 2 two-bed flats, fully adapted for disabled use, including wheelchair-accessible kitchens and bathrooms.

The attractive buildings feature a wide range of large single glazed timber windows; mostly sash style, in bays including dormer bays with shaped window returns, turret bays and casements with arched heads. It was important to maintain the building style but as Vernon Gardens is a busy thoroughfare to Brighton’s popular seafront, it was also necessary to deal with traffic noise and, at the same time, provide high levels of thermal insulation and draught proofing to create a comfortable and peaceful living environment.

The solution was to introduce secondary glazing and specialist Contractor Lakehouse Contracts asked Selectaglaze to design bespoke treatments for each window. This required extensive use of the Selectaglaze range including three styles of sash window, horizontal sliding systems, hinged casements and curved or shaped fixed panels. The windows were finished in a permanent white powder paint to match the external frames and glazed using toughened safety glass with a low emissivity coating. This coating improves the overall thermal efficiency of the window and so reduces the long term heating costs.

Access to some of the windows for ventilation was a particular concern so the contractor arranged motorised fittings to be attached, allowing both the external window and new secondary window to be operated at the press of a button.


Secondary glazing can improve the environment in many types of building particularly those with traditional construction or listed status. It achieves significant levels of noise insulation (45dB+); helps reduce the heat loss through a window by up to 60% and will almost eliminate the discomfort caused by draughts.