“This is your captain speaking” – can you hear me?

Latest News Fri, Jul 12, 2019 9:17 AM


A new college opened last year at the end of Stansted Airport runway.

Stansted Airport College, part of Harlow College, is a new education facility sitting at the end of Stansted Airport runway. A relationship was developed with Manchester Airport Group over a period of 5 years to secure the acre of land and get their buy-in for the proposed college. Funds were raised via a joint venture to construct the college; two separate £3.5million grants from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Local Growth Fund and Essex County Council, as well as a £300,000 grant by Uttlesford District Council and a £50,000 funding contribution from the Savoy Trust.

Stansted Airport College is the first on-site education facility of its type at any major UK airport, designed by Pascall+Watson and built by Willmott Dixon. Courses on offer for the students, looking for a career in the aviation and related industries comprise of; aviation operations and cabin crew, engineering and aircraft maintenance, hospitality and events management, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships and work transition courses. Due to its location, the dream of all the students attending is just in sight.

London Stansted Airport is one of the busiest airports in London, carrying 25 million passengers a year to more than 190 destinations in 40 countries around the world. With just one runway serving all take off and landings, and the college’s location not far from the end of it, noise was an immense concern for those using the facility. Acoustic consultant Cole Jarman Associates was employed to advise on how to fashion a quiet and comfortable learning environment at the college. Typically, a Boeing 737 (one nautical mile high) before landing, can generate sounds levels in the region of 90-100dB. The WHO (Word Health Organisation) recommends acceptable classroom noise levels to be: 35-40dB, so a significant reduction needed to be made. As it was a new build, high performance primary double glazing was installed, but unfortunately it did not meet the acoustic requirements on its own.

Selectaglaze was approached to help provide a solution with secondary glazing. It is one of the best methods of acoustic insulation for windows in noisy areas. Although commonly used in Listed buildings, they can also provide much needed additional performance for new builds in areas of high traffic or near major transportation hubs. Acoustic tests have shown that Selectaglaze secondary glazing can provide a 45dB reduction if set 200mm from a single glazed primary window with 6mm glass. Based on this, if used in conjunction with high performance primary windows, then the dB rating requirements would be met.

Selectaglaze installed 32 units across the college with their Series 10 - 2 and 3 pane horizontal sliders and a Series 41 casement door. All were fitted with a cavity of 200mm and tightly sealed.

Karen Spencer, Principal of Stansted Airport College, said: “It is an amazing place to work, with state-of-the-art facilities for the students. Every day they have a clear line of sight to the workplace – a real incentive for completing their courses and going on to careers at London Stansted airport. As for the building, it is hard to believe that we are at the end of the runway, as it is so quiet inside the building. Often, the only giveaway that an aircraft is taking off is the amazing panoramic view out of the windows.”

Not only have the staff and students already seen the vast acoustic benefit of the secondary glazing, but they should also gain from thermal insulation it provides and the added security. The roar of the overhead planes has been silenced, producing a quiet and conducive space for concentration required for teaching and studying.

Selectaglaze is the leading specialist in secondary glazing, established in 1966 and Royal Warrant Holder since 2004. With a wealth of knowledge and a range of extensive products to suit all projects, properties from Listed to new builds can be treated effectively. The company offers a wide range of tested products. A free technical advisory service is offered and RIBA approved CPDs are available to architects and designers.

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