What are Concrete Balconies?
There are two main types of concrete balcony:
Projecting: With this type of balcony the building’s concrete frame forms a projecting platform or cantilever concrete deck. A balustrade is fixed around the exposed perimeter.
Inset: Traditionally, this is an integrated concrete deck, which is recessed into the building façade. The open side is guarded with a balustrade.
Disadvantages of Concrete Balconies
Integrated concrete balconies can be used to stunning architectural effect. For example, at London’s iconic Baltimore Tower, faceted glass balcony balustrades by Sapphire were installed to integrated balconies, enhancing the Tower’s distinctive flowing twist. However, there are some disadvantages with this type of balcony.
- Finishing works. Traditional finishing methods can be costly and time consuming. Using Sapphire Cassettes, which come complete with preassembled soffits, fascia and decks etc, saves time and labour on site.
- Coordinating multiple trades on site. Sapphire Cassette balconies are manufactured offsite and arrive as fully assembled units, reducing trades on site.
- Visible welds and fixings. Sapphire Cassette balconies are engineered to keep fixings discreet, with preassembled soffits that complete the underside.
- Waterproofing considerations. Concrete balconies tend to be treated like a flat roof and are usually finished with a waterproof membrane. Also, inset concrete balconies are directly above internal rooms, so the interfacing detail between the balustrade and the waterproofing on the balcony needs careful consideration. Sapphire Cassettes are specially engineered to overcome interfacing issues.
- Drainage provision. Traditional concrete balconies with upstands can trap water and form a pond. To meet NHBC regulations, adequate provision for drainage must be considered at an early stage and integrated into the balcony design. Sapphire Cassettes can be supplied with a built-in drainage system that meets regulations and saves time on site.
- Services. Integrated concrete balconies offer no void in which to run unsightly pipes, balcony drainage connections etc . All details can be incorporated into the Sapphire Cassette module offsite, avoiding the cost and hassle of on site works.
- This can occur if careful consideration is not given to the interface between balustrades and waterproofing, the balustrade height from finished floor level or the isolation of aluminium elements from the concrete. With Sapphire Cassettes, glass infill panels are fully integrated into the balcony structure, so avoiding this potential problem.
- Health and safety on site. When installing traditional balconies there is the potential hazard of people working underneath a balcony to fix soffits and fascias. Sapphire’s aluminium Cassettes are delivered to site fully assembled, ready to be lifted into position for final fixing from above.
- Glass handling. Lifting and installing large panels of glass on site can be a safety hazard and there is also the risk of damaging glass during handling. With Sapphire’s Cassette balconies, the glass is already in place.
- Overall cost. In most cases, Sapphire’s Glide-on balcony system can provide a better all-round solution without a lot of the interfacing issues and costs associated with concrete balconies.