Sapphire Balustrades’ new offsite balcony solution has enabled an entire residential project’s pre-assembled balconies to be installed in a single day. Sapphire used its pioneering development to manufacture 22 complete balcony units, including glass balustrades and sub-deck, for new apartments in Bedfont, West London. The balconies were manufactured offsite in Sapphire’s Reading production facility while connections were being completed. With the building prepared, the balconies were transported to site ready for fast track fixing to the façade using the system’s innovative connectors. Aimed specifically at the high-rise housebuilding sector, Sapphire says its patent-protected new system makes it simpler, faster and more cost-effective to provide high quality balconies for residential projects.
Sapphire’s design and manufacturing team worked closely with London-based living-architects and Bugler Developments to build an exacting specification for the new apartments, which were built by Bugler Developments on behalf of Stoll, a UK charity providing housing and support for ex-Service personnel. Funding for the £7.5 million project includes generous support from The Royal British Legion’s External Grants programme and the Greater London Authority, among other donations.
Manufacturing and assembling apartment balconies in its factory enabled Sapphire to maintain a high degree of quality control. In addition, Sapphire’s offsite solution helped minimise site time and associated costs, such as scaffolding hire, and product quality was kept consistently high compared with completing more of the work on site. The modular units were transported to site with pre-positioned lifting eye locations already incorporated in the balcony deck. Whilst balconies usually have to be craned into lower positions, working from the bottom of a stack upwards, balconies on this project were craned into position, starting at the top of the three-storey building and working down in a number of locations. This process was made possible by a unique balcony lifter connected to the crane; a robust, innovative tool specially developed by Sapphire which has been independently tested and certified. When balcony units are being lifted into place, the system offsets the crane hook to the outside of the balcony balustrades, enabling balconies to be installed beneath the balconies above them in a stack rather than being limited to having to start with the bottom floor balconies in the stack and working up the building.
The apartment balconies incorporate glazed balustrades from Sapphire’s Crystal frameless, structural glass system. With no vertical support posts to impede views, Crystal balustrades are a particularly popular choice for residential balconies. The balconies’ clear toughened laminated glass infill panels are combined with satin polished marine grade stainless steel cappings, designed to give a minimalist appearance whilst offering high corrosion resistance.
Summing up, Nick Haughton, Marketing Manager at Sapphire Balustrades, says: “We believe the success of this prestigious project proves the time and cost saving benefits of our new offsite balcony system. Sapphire’s innovative solution offers housebuilders, developers and contractors the first real alternative to traditional balcony design and construction.”