May 5, 2022
Construction of the Automated Rooflight Glassmotion Box
Written by Rebecca Clayton
May 5, 2022
Written by Rebecca Clayton
Automated sliding and venting rooflights have grown in popularity over the last few years, especially with the increased demand for ventilation in internal spaces.
Our MARS automated sliding glass rooflight and ARES automated venting rooflight systems, both designed in-house by IQ, are two of the most popular roof glazing solutions. In our newly renovated showroom space, we wanted to display these in an innovative way and allow clients to see the systems up close.
This led to the concept of a box with both the MARS and ARES installed together that could be moved up and down on a pulley system. The construction means that when lifted to the top clients can see the systems from below, as they normally would in an interior space.
The box can be lifted down to allow clients to look at the systems from above and see the minimal design and smooth movement of the opening rooflight systems up close.
The planning and design for this bespoke sliding and venting rooflight installation took around two weeks.
As the systems were designed by IQ, we were able to make alterations to allow the systems to work in harmony together. As all our glazing systems are manufactured completely bespoke, the design stage is a vital part of the process for any project we do.
Our skilled in-house designer worked round the clock to combine these two extremely complex automated rooflight designs into one multifunctional roof glazing solution.
It took around 6-8 weeks for IQ to manufacture the rooflight systems as one solution once the design had been finalised.
With current supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, Brexit, and other world events there has been an increase in lead times and prices across the industry.
Due to these issues, in order to not lengthen the lead times some of the steelwork and glass specs had to be changed to make sure the installation could go ahead on schedule.
IQ work closely with a range of suppliers both on the continent and in the UK to keep delays and price increase to a minimum.
It is because of this that we were able to source materials from alternative suppliers to avoid causing delays for other showroom installations, as the renovation includes a variety of architectural glazing systems.
This did cause some challenges later in the installation phase, as the calculations for the weight of the counterweights were then wrong due to the difference in weight of the new glass and steelwork.
Lucking both our designers and installers are extremely experienced and in the years that they have been working for IQ, this is not the first time something like this has happened and quick and innovative thinking allows any issues to easily be overcome.
Once IQ had fabricated the steel frame, which is the main backbone of this incredible automated rooflight installation, it was brought into the building by specialist equipment handling machines.
Bespoke steel brackets also had to be made that were fixed to the head of the steel frame so the cables on the pulleys could be threaded through to move the rooflights up and down.
Installing the pulleys and cables and attaching them to the steel frame had to be done in a specific order whilst the steel was propped up, this complicated part of the installation was carried out with ease under the watchful eye of our installation manager.
The counterweights, weighing around 400kg each, also had to be carried into the building on the specialist equipment lifting machine as the weight is too much for people to carry.
Whilst the outer steel framing was supported on props, the IQ team built the perimeter structure on top of the steel frame to create the upstand.
Once the upstand had been created the rooflights could then be installed. The installation process for automated rooflight systems such as the MARS and ARES needs each step of the process to be taken slowly and done with care.
Each step must be done in a specific order and each part placed in exactly the right way, luckily the IQ installation teams are extremely comfortable with the installation of bespoke glazing solutions such as this one.
Once the rooflights and glass had been installed into the moving frame, the counterweights had to be connected overhead.
This was done by using an overhead axel and a belt which were also connected to a motor, this contraption is what moves the whole automated rooflight box up and down, allowing clients to see the systems from below as well as up close and from above.
Bespoke aluminium pressings were then installed around the system, as well as mirrored glass around the interior just below the rooflight system.
The counterweights used to counterbalance the system had been made to the original design, and so once the rest of the installation was completed, IQ had to fine-tune the balance using lead shots.
This was the biggest challenge when it came to the construction of this automated rooflight box as normally rooflights do not need to be moved around as a whole once installed, and this system was on pulleys the balancing had to be exactly right to ensure that when the system is moved up and down it does not tilt or sway. Tinted glass is used to encase the pulley system and some of the cables to act as a safety barrier.
Lastly, the rest of the wiring for the lighting and the automation for the rooflight systems could be done, and aesthetic touches such as fake grass were added.
After all the arduous work planning, making, and installing these bespoke automated rooflight solutions, the end result is better than we could have hoped.
The automated rooflight installation, now on show at the IQ Showroom, moves up and down as one system with ease in a smooth motion, and the rooflight systems can easily be operated at the push of a button.
This part of the new showroom space now only showcases the MARS and ARES automated rooflight systems themselves, but is also a great display of the innovative ways our design team thinks and the skill of our installers.
To book your visit to IQ’s immersive glazing experience and the new showroom, visit the contact us page.
"It is great to see all your products on show, and ‘active’ – being able to see those large entrance windows open and move, to stand in the glass box, and to get up close to the roof lights and other displays is really good. You can see and feel the quality of the product. Your innovation comes through too." - Louise Leahy, Engagement Champion at CLPM
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