Six miles of commercial windows and counting!

Project update: Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham

Having started on site in September 2022, our high-profile window replacement programme as part of a major energy efficiency upgrade at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, is entering the final phases. We reflect on the challenges of a major refurbishment programme in a working hospital. 

The figures immediately communicate the scale of the project. More than 10,000 windows. Almost 1,000 bays, 18,000mof windows and doors. “Lined up side-by-side we worked out that they would stretch for six miles”, says Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium.

“It’s an exceptional project in anyone’s book”, he continues. “There have been challenges along the way, but we’ve worked with the main contractor and other trades to overcome them and ultimately we and most importantly the customer, have been very pleased with the outcome.” 

Project overview

The Queens Medical Centre is part of the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the biggest and business acute trusts in England, Employing more than 14,500 people. 

The site in Derby Road opened in 1977 and has more than 13000 beds. It’s also home to the University of Nottingham Medical and Nursing Schools. 

The window replacement programme is being delivered as part of a 15-year agreement between Nottingham University Hospital Trust and energy giant EOn.

It aims to cut carbon emissions and deliver energy savings of in excess of £2.8million a year by moving to low energy technologies, renewables and improving the thermal efficiency of buildings.  

As well as office, administrative and public spaces, this has included the replacement of pre-existing glazing to working wards.

Energy-efficient commercial window replacement

Acorn was appointed to the project by main contractor Willmott Dixon following a series of successful projects including Birmingham’s high profile Perry Barr Regeneration scheme.

Starting on site in September 2022 Acorn Aluminium was contracted on a design, manufacture and installation basis to replace more than 18,000m2 of windows and doors across the site. 

This includes replacing 2m tall single-glazed ribbon windows, which wrap around each floor of each of the four main blocks, with ultra-energy efficient replacements.

“At this scale, the project was always going to create some specific challenges. Logistics, scheduling product through the factory at this volume, capacity to store that many finished frames”, Paul explains. 

“The other is that QMC is a working hospital. Taking out old windows can be disruptive but I think we’ve successfully minimised the impact on the hospital through very close working partnerships with the main contractor and the estates teams.”

Product specification – Senior Architectural systems SPW600

Windows supplied into QMC were manufactured by us in the SPW600 System from Senior Architectural systems, achieving a u-value of around 1.3w/m2K. 

It’s a highly versatile 75mm window system, while it’s also available in the SPW600e enhanced thermal option, which uses additional thermal inserts on top of the latest polyamide thermal breaking technologies used across the range. 

Accommodating glass units of up to 56mm, this combines to create a highly cost-effective commercial window capable of achieving a BFRC A Rating. 

Ultra-energy efficient, units also include a solar control coating, significantly reducing solar gain and lowering cooling and energy costs in the summer.

Progress to date March 2024

The project hit a significant milestone this month when we completed 100% of fabrication of windows and doors. Holding around 1,500 windows here at our manufacturing site, with a further 500 on site at the Trust campus. 

Installation is also progressing well with more than half of the bays replaced. 

“What we’re very proud of is the manner in which our teams on the ground have worked with the Trust but also other partners”, continues Paul. 

“All of our fitting teams have gone through the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and carry CSCS cards while our team of supervisors are also Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) accredited.

“That expertise and the commitment we have made to health and safety was recognised by Eon in a special commendation. While our approach was also recognised by Willmott Dixon, which commended the team for its approach to supporting social values.”

Project Summary

  • 18,000mwindow and door replacement programme
  • End client: Nottingham Universities Hospital Trust
  • Multi-million pound window replacement programme scheduled completion March 2024
  • Commercial partners: E.ON; Willmott Dixon.
  • System: Senior Architectural systems’ SPW600 system
  • Glass: Saint Gobain
  • U-values of 1.3W/m2

For more about Acorn Aluminium please call 0115 928 2166, email or visit

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