Zip Blinds

Architectural trends over the last few years have seen buildings being designed with much larger glazed areas, bringing more natural light and ventilation into working and public spaces. The belief is this provides building users with a much more healthy and positive working environment and is a step forward in countering ‘sick building syndrome’, a phrase often used to describe buildings with small windows and poor ventilation where users appear to be both demotivated and frequently ill.

Custom Group Ltd can provide an effective shading solution to all kinds of large glazed areas in both modern and traditional buildings, new construction and refurbishments. The example below shows how Custom Group Ltd provided a resolution to the more complex problem of excessive light penetration via a glass pitched roof system within a traditional Victorian building.

In 2014 a major renovation to a gallery at the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester began and the requirement to provide black-out blinds between the frosted glass ceiling and a pitched Victorian glass roof with clerestory windows was identified.

Working with main contractor GF Tomlinson Ltd and SHY® blind hardware systems, differing options were explored over several weeks. The existing structural roof system was to remain largely unchanged and calculations had to be performed to ensure the very heavy blind headboxes and channels could be adequately supported with minimal deflection. The blinds could in theory be run either parallel with, or at 90 degrees to the roof trusses, but due to the configuration of the building and the roof structure each option produced different issues which had to be overcome. Eventually, a solution was found using the SHY® ZIP® fabric tension system (FTS). These blinds were installed to the horizontal iron girders beneath the pitched glazed roof at the shortest ends of the building. This enabled us to use fewer, larger blinds but with the issue that some small areas down the side of the building could not be covered by the blinds. The blinds were double ended, allowing a 9m draw of fabric for either end of the roof void so when the fabrics of one blind met in the middle, a total length of 18m of horizontal space was covered. This clever solution meant that just three blind systems were needed to cover the total area of 100m2 and provide the level of light control required by the client. The blinds were fitted with SHY® (UK)’s Solarblock B50 fabric which is extremely robust and able to cope with the tension applied by the FTS to prevent the fabric sagging over such a long length.

The client chose the black colour in this range which is made with a white backing significantly reducing the heat absorption when compared with a traditional all black fabric – so light and heat control are achieved by this installation. SHY® (UK) produced bespoke 240 x 350mm steel headboxes to contain both the cable and cloth rollers when the blind is fully retracted.

2 teams of Custom Group Ltd electrical/mechanical engineers were engaged to install the blinds. Initially the engineers supplied and installed a full timber frame system to the roof, which would support the side channels of the blinds and prevent them from sagging or flexing when the blinds were closed. Next, the heavy duty SHY® blind systems were lifted into position and fixed to the steel frame using heavy duty fixings. The blind channels were then installed onto the timber frames and checked for accuracy, with no more than a 3mm deviation over 9 metres. The blinds were then connected to the electrical supply and configured, adjusted, tested and commissioned to NICEIC standards. Each blind was configured to operate independently if required, or all blinds could be operated in unison. Control of the blinds was via a wall mounted radio remote control unit. Additionally the small areas in the roof system, which could not be covered by the blinds, was cloaked with timber and fully sealed to prevent light ingress when the Museum required total blackout to protect important exhibits.

All work was completed on time and within budget.

Ready to place an enquiry?

Please telephone 0800 8303060. You can email us at or complete the quick call back request.

Case Studies

[Coming Soon]

Detailed Product Selector

[Coming Soon]

Overview by Product

prev next

Overview by Sector

QMS HAS Made in the UK