Condo Balcony Solutions Canada
Better Balconies, Faster...Find out How
Simplicity = Speed
So what are Glide-On Cassette balconies?
Cassette Balconies are offsite balcony solutions that save up to 90% install time on-site. Their simplistic yet innovative approach has led to Cassette balconies rapidly replacing traditional condo balconies across Europe and now the globe.
The first part is the brackets, which can be chosen from a range of cast-in or post-fixed brackets to enable the connection to the main building structure or floor slab, each with steel arms protruding from the façade.
The second, a balcony Cassette (the frame structure and baluster) is a deck made with oversized holes to receive the steel arms when the Cassette is craned into position. Each Cassette is delivered preassembled and factory finished to a high-quality standard with minimal on-site finishing.
Read on to so see how simplicity creates speed and the other big benefits you can take advantage of.
The balconies are assembled offsite which avoids the hassle of coordinating multiple trades and storage onsite for materials. They are stored offsite, preassembled, and delivered when required.
Factory controlled stage by stage quality processes ensure a premium offering across all our condo modular balcony solutions.
Aluminium Cassette® balcony decks are approximately half the weight of steel which can reduce the number of brackets required to connect back to the main structure. This reduces the number of façade penetrations reducing the risk of cold bridging, damp, etc. which bring both additional costs and hassle. Of course, the aluminium is highly recycled, and the reduced penetrations back to the building mean less heat loss through the lifecycle.
Sapphire Cassette® balconies have been carefully engineered to avoid visible welds and keep fasteners discreet. All Cassettes® come with soffits which complete the underside.
Stronger, more rigid
Sapphire has developed unique cast-in anchors cast-in anchors which can achieve three times the strength of common market alternatives. This means less deflection and increased rigidity, giving the best resident experience and product confidence.
Tolerance: fits the first time
We provide templates with cast-in anchors. These avoid the concrete frame casting issues so that balconies fit the first time. This way we avoid bolt-on balconies misalignment issues, which cause coordination issues and variations.
Overcoming the Disadvantages of Concrete Balconies
Cast in place concrete balconies have been the most common of the condo balcony solutions across Canada. Many of which have been used on buildings with a stunning architectural envelope. However, there are are a number of disadvantages to this type of balcony which is why across Europe they are generally being switched to Glide-On or bolt-on balcony solutions. Here are a few reasons:
- Finishing’s. Traditional finishing methods can be costly and time-consuming. Using Sapphire Cassettes, which come complete prefinished with soffits, fascia, and decking saves time and labor on site.
- Coordinating multiple trades on-site often causing confusion and delays. Sapphire Cassette® balconies are manufactured offsite and arrive as fully assembled units, reducing trades on site.
- Visible welds and fastners. Sapphire Cassette balconies are engineered to keep the fastners discreet, with prefinished 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 edge guarding 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. Many countries globally have codes and regulations which require “adequate provision for drainage”. This on a concrete balcony will mean draining to a rainwater pipe with an overflow and other heights to stop water ingress. This can be tricky to achieve and must be considered at an early stage, to ensure it is integrated into the balcony design. Sapphire Cassette balconies are prefinished with a built-in drainage system with options for meeting regulations. These are solutions simply and cost-effectively design to saves cost and time on site.
- Concrete balconies make it difficult conceal pipes, balcony drainage connections, etc. With the Glide-On system, Sapphire incorporate these simply into the Sapphire Cassette module offsite, avoiding the cost and hassle of on-site installation.
- Health and safety on site. When installing traditional condo balcony solutions there is the potential hazard of people working underneath a balcony to fix soffits and fascias. Sapphire’s aluminum Cassettes are delivered to the site fully finished, 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 (especially at height) 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.
- Thermal breaks. Concrete balconies must have a continuous thermal break along all connecting edges which increases costs dramatically. Sapphire’s Glide-On™ system only needs thermal breaks on the arms. Saving significant amounts of heat loss and improving sustainability in line with steep code requirements.
- Concrete slabs must be thicker than Cassettes® in order to meet the various requirement for 150mm splashbacks and minimum heights for the nearest points of water collections. Concrete balconies cannot draw rainwater and are therefore required to have a splashback, this significantly increases the weight of the balcony increasing the strain on the building. Sapphire Cassette® balconies have drainage solutions built-in allowing for extra slim cassettes and lightweight balconies.
- Balustrade guarding posts require a minimum thickness in concrete balconies to prevent the underside cracking out when drilling the fixings. Sapphire balconies have prefinished balusters secured into the Cassette®.
- Decking and soffits on concrete cast in place balconies must be installed on-site including pedestals and rails which add weight to the structure and time to the project. Installation typically requires two installers increasing site costs. Sapphire balconies are prefinished requiring only the final decking boards to be secured and because the water can drain through the cassette, No pedestal system, etc is needed for the decking.
At Sapphire, we’ve had years of experience working with concrete balconies but found so many advantages with the newer methods which avoid all the concrete disadvantages. Our innovation has designed out those challenges caused by concrete balcony methods and all the associated unnecessary delays and headaches on site. As a result, we found both European markets and others around the world are fast adopting Glide-On as the better solution that provides all of the benefits associated with concrete and more, without the hang-ups.
Drainage on Condo Balconies
Individually fixed soffits every 400mm with a gradient, so rainwater flows to the front of the balcony, where it can...
Building codes focus on this for concrete balconies. Metal balconies are much simpler...
Drained through is either undrained or free-drain using perforated soffits. The appearance is not as neat...
Balcony Drawing Details to Suit Your Project Requirements
Since inception in 1992 Sapphire has been creating the strongest and most aesthetic balconies. Our balconies have been evolving with time, both in terms of design and strength. To simplify your balcony specification process, we have launched a number of free specification tools, all of which provide an array of options for steel balcony construction details.
Project Specific Balcony Drawing Details
Our pre-engineered balcony specifications come with significant advantages over the standard details. In this type of specification, features include balcony illustrations, decking and railing selections, and even the soffits selection.
Sapphire’s glide-on balcony concept is so simple and yet very clever. It provides a really fast and flexible solution for this type of high-rise residential development
Design Coordinator – Bouygues UK
With Sapphire you get a complete offsite manufactured balcony that can be installed with very little fuss.
Berkeley Group at Royal Arsenal
Having experienced the many benefits of Sapphire Cassette® balconies at Green Man Lane, we shan’t be going back to the old way!
Construction Manager – Rydon Construction
Sapphire balcony’s are an excellent design, resulting in high quality and rapid installation.
Project Manager – Durkan Limited
Your balconies were great from a design point of view and your team were all very helpful.
Technical Manager – Bellway