Balcony innovation by Sapphire glides to success at Glasgow development

Sapphire’s Cassette® balcony concept, with innovative Glide-On™ connections, has enabled hassle-free installation of projecting glass balconies at a residential development on the former site of BBC Scotland. Around 100 offsite-manufactured balconies, based on Sapphire’s patented technology, are installed to luxury apartments at The Botanics in the West End of Glasgow.

The balcony installation went really well and I can’t fault Sapphire’s comprehensive product and service package.

Sapphire worked in close collaboration with install partner, McKean Developments, to provide a bespoke supply and support solution for the project. Contracts Manager for McKean Developments says his team established an excellent working relationship with Sapphire, and comments: “The balcony installation went really well and I can’t fault Sapphire’s comprehensive product and service package.”

Manufacturing balconies offsite brings many cost and time saving benefits for contractors and developers. For example, it avoids the hassle of coordinating multiple trades on site as balconies are delivered preassembled, with minimal finishing works required. Additionally, Sapphire’s aluminium Cassette® balcony decks are approximately half the weight of steel alternatives. This can mean fewer brackets are needed to connect back to the main structure. Reducing the number of façade penetrations reduces the risk of potentially costly problems such as cold bridging and damp. Also, Sapphire Cassette® balconies have been carefully engineered to avoid visible welds and keep fixings discreet for added aesthetic appeal.

Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies for The Botanics were fixed to cast-in anchors, with arms installed to the façade by McKean Developments while the balconies were being manufactured. Balcony units were delivered complete with decks, balustrades, soffits and fascias, ready to be glided onto pre-erected supporting brackets, without installers having to fix them from underneath.

Utilising a modular 400mm construction for optimum design and production efficiency, Sapphire’s Cassette® balcony system was able to accommodate the two projection depths specified for different-sized apartments at The Botanics. The balconies’ contemporary design combines frameless structural glass balustrades from Sapphire’s Crystal system with stylish stainless steel handrails and contrasting powder-coated soffits and fascias.

In addition to high quality balcony units, Sapphire’s project package included comprehensive customer support, including pre-start construction meetings, installer training and installation innovations like the Counter Balance Lift (CBL). Developed and registered by Sapphire, the CBL is a key piece of equipment provided to installers as part of each project’s support offering. In essence, the CBL offsets the crane hook by using weights to balance the balcony, which opens the door to a wide range of install sequences.

Nick Haughton, Sapphire’s Head of Marketing, concludes: “Well proven on many prestigious residential projects, like The Botanics, our well engineered, patented Cassette Glide-on balcony system not only makes it quicker and simpler to install high quality residential balconies, but also creates a lighter weight rigid structure that requires fewer fixings back to the building.”