Glass Use in Balcony Balustrades
Glass is generally considered to be one of the best materials to use in balcony balustrades. There are critical considerations needed in the design and selection of glass balustrade and some of these are explored in the following subpages.
Some common benefits of glass balustrades on balconies are:
- Relatively low-cost option (but with a high perceived value)
- Low maintenance/long lifespan
- High impact resistance and strength
- Wide range of colour and obscurity options
- Creates openness and enables views
- Can easily be printed or customised
- Easily customisable and easy to process
Whilst glass is one of the safest options for balcony edge protection, it is fragile by nature. All balconies require toughened safety glass and whether Heat-Strengthened, Tempered, Heat soaked, monolithic or toughened, it naturally has stresses in the glass.
Stresses can create a spontaneous fracture if there is a severe impact, vandalism, or if Nickel Sulphide inclusion, or NiS, triggers a failure. As part of the CDM responsibilities, it is therefore essential to know what the replacement strategy is and how this affects the design. We have created an innovative glass removal and replacement method that provides the following key benefits:
- All works can be carried out from the balcony without using any balconies below and without needing access equipment like scaffolding.
- All tools, equipment and personnel required are tethered, harnessed or restrained.
- All balcony components which need removing have straps, trays, or restraints designed for them so no loose parts can fall.
- All products and equipment can be transported through a typical building.
What is our glass replacement sequence?
Using our specialist equipment, this 12 step typical process can be used to replace glass on most standard Cassette® balconies:
- The area at ground level should be secured under the balcony to prevent access by others.
- After temporary protection has been removed, the capping or handrail and any fascias are removed around the affected panel.
- Next, the Sapphire hoist with lifting bar attached is positioned over the glass centre line.
- A deck stop is fitted to the balcony to prevent the hoist from moving the wrong direction during replacement.
- Slings are looped around between the deck board edge and the glass, then pulled up the outside of the glass. These are attached to the top of the lifting bar and threaded through glass suckers to hold the glass securely.
- With a catch box in place to catch and retain components, glass clamps are removed.
- The hoist jib is raised until the bottom of the glass is above the deck and manoeuvred back to a position where the panel can be safely removed from the slings.
- The frame is turned through 90˚ and re-loaded with the replacement panel and secured as previously.
- The hoist is then manoeuvred back to the gap and up to the deck stop.
- The replacement glass panel is moved into position and fixings secured.
- The panel is then spaced and adjusted for height, then finally tightened.
With the panel securely fixed, any fascias, capping and handrails can be reinstalled.
Glass Removal & Replacement
Whilst gaps between deck boards are small, which avoids items (e.g. leaves) from collecting in drip trays or forming a blockage in positive drained balcony outlets, cleaning and inspection is simple.
Sapphire’s WPC decking boards are fitted using hidden clips, allowing the removal of balcony deck boards from above. This enables inspection and cleaning to be carried out simply. When such checks are carried out, the balcony’s Cassette® structure should also be assessed at the same time for corrosion or deterioration of materials, and tightness of bolts and clamps.
Understand Laminate Glass
Laminated toughened glass offers additional safety benefits. Interlayers can be used for privacy, tinting, colouring, etc. PVB is most common...Learn More
Learn about different glass types
Heat strengthened glass has lower surface compression than temper toughened. Heat soaking is an additional test measure, not a different...Learn More
Nickel Sulphide Inclusion
NiS is an inherent weakness in most glass. Heat soaking significantly reduces the risk of breakage. When NiS occurs it...Learn More