Apartment Balcony Solutions For New Zealand

NZ's Route to Better Balconies, Faster...

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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 apartment balconies across 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 and bolted on 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.

Simplicity = Speed

Although a lot more elegant, Glide-On Cassette balconies are like a fork-truck lifting a pallet, it’s that simple. Our condo balcony solutions offer multiple benefits compared to built-in-place.

See how it work

Offsite Assembly

Our unique patented cantilevered balconies are assembled offsite. Utilising offsite balcony production removes the hassle of coordinating multiple trades and storing bulky materials onsite.

Once preassembled, they are securely stored and delivered when required for a speedy and safe install.

Premium Quality

Quaility is a cornerstone of Sapphire’s balcony production process. Factory controlled, stage by stage quality processes ensure a premium offering across all our prefab balcony solutions.

Lightweight Steel Balcony Structure

Aluminium Cassette® balcony decks are approximately half the weight of steel. This 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.

Discreet fasteners

Sapphire Cassette® balconies have been carefully engineered to avoid visible welds. Fasteners are hid discreetly adding to the premium finish. All Sapphire Cassettes® come with soffits that complete the underside.

Sapphire has extensive experience of building and developing apartment balcony solutions and can meet specific design requirements.

Stronger, more rigid

Sapphire has developed unique 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.

To simplify the balcony specification process, we offer a number of free specification tools, all of which provide an array of options for steel balcony construction details.

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

New Zealand architects and home builders are adopting innovative balcony solutions such as Glide-On Cassette® balconies to address stricter requirements from the New Zealand Building Code. As New Zealand’s cities continue to grow in population size and demand for high-rise developments increases, the preference for bolt on steel balconies over concrete balconies is being driven by the following benefits:

  • Better 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.
  • Improved 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.
  • Reduced trades on site. Coordinating multiple trades on-site often causes confusion and delays. Sapphire Cassette® balconies are manufactured offsite and arrive as fully assembled units ready for a quick install.
  • Fewer health and safety concerns on site. When installing traditional apartment 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.
  • Quality finishings. Traditional finishing methods can be costly and time-consuming.  Using Sapphire Cassettes, which come complete prefinished with soffits, fascia, and decking saves both time and labor on site.
  • Discreet welds and fastners. Sapphire Cassette balconies are engineered to keep the fasteners discreet, with prefinished soffits that complete the underside. Concrete balconies make it difficult to conceal pipes, balcony drainage connections, etc. With the Glide-On system, Sapphire simply incorporates these into the Sapphire Cassette module offsite, avoiding the cost and hassle of on-site installation.
  • No 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.
  • 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.
  • Weight Saving. 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.
  • Prefinished balusters. 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®.
  • Reduced installation costs. Decking and soffits on concrete cast in place balconies must be installed on-site including pedestals and rails. These 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.
  • 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.

With years of experience in prefabricated balconies, Sapphire has extensive knowledge of local New Zealand building regulations and changing trends. Construction in New Zealand has traditionally been on-site but as demand for multi-level homes grows, the move to benefit from prefabricated balconies will see concrete balconies become a redundant choice for New Zealand apartment balconies.

Install Simplicity

Drainage on Apartment Balconies

Controlled Drainage

Individually fixed soffits every 400mm with a gradient, so rainwater flows to the front of the balcony, where it can...

Controlled Drainage

Piped Drainage

Building codes focus on this for concrete balconies. Metal balconies are much simpler...

Soffits (Piped Drainage)

Undrained Balconies

Drained through is either undrained or free-drain using perforated soffits. The appearance is not as neat...

Controlled Drainage

BBQ Season in New Zealand

Barbecuing in New Zealand is extremely popular, however can go against fire safety on balconies.
Many councils have their own rules and regulations in regards to open flames on balconies or high rise buildings.
A few years ago, the idea of using an electric grill for your barbecuing wouldn’t have been considered. In recent years, though, there have been great strides made in the design and quality of electric grills and these are becoming popular where open flame regulations are in place.
Always check your apartment’s policy to be sure.
In this due effect, fire safety must be taken into precaution.
For more information, why not book one of our Lunch and Learns on Fire Safety.

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.

Balcony Standard 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.