Sapphire balconies star in Ash House office to residential conversion

Sapphire’s innovative balcony solutions have a starring role in the transformation of a number of disused office to residential apartments following the relaxed ‘change of use’ planning requirements – part of the Government’s strategy to build homes on brownfield sites. Ash House is one of these which included converting former offices into 41 highly desirable apartments in the Surrey town of Staines-upon-Thames.

The conversion and renovation of Ash House has created luxury living space over five storeys in a prime location close to mainline rail connections and local amenities. Working to the exacting specification of project architect, CDA, Sapphire supplied 34 offsite-manufactured projecting balconies as well as some Juliette balconies. The Senior Technologist overseeing the project for CDA was impressed by Sapphire’s product quality and end-to-end service. “We received excellent support from Sapphire’s team at each stage of the design and specification process,” he says, “and the finished balconies are impressive”

The projecting balconies to larger apartments at Ash House (an office to residential conversion) were manufactured in an offsite production facility while balcony connections and associated works by other trades were completed on site. Individual balconies were delivered as pre-assembled units, complete with glass balustrades and composite decking, ready to install. Once craned into position, the balcony units simply glide on to pre-erected connection brackets. CDA’s Senior Technologist says the benefits of this pioneering concept speak for themselves. “Sapphire’s glide-on balcony system saved a tremendous amount of time and effort on site – we’d certainly consider using it again.”

“Sapphire’s glide-on balcony system saved a tremendous amount of time and effort on site – we’d certainly consider using it again.”

To maintain symmetry across the façade of Ash House, balustrades for both projecting (cantilever) and Juliette balconies were manufactured from Sapphire’s Crystal frameless structural glass system. With no uprights to impede views, the clear toughened and laminated glass panels deliver a high-end result that combines visual appeal with durability. The elegant effect is enhanced by the use of a bronze anodised aluminium capping to the balustrades and an aluminium fascia in the same finish to conceal glass fixings.

In addition to the project’s aesthetic requirements, Ash House provided an opportunity for Sapphire to showcase its technical engineering expertise, as Marketing Manager, Nick Haughton, explains:

“Working with a refurbished building did present a few challenges but it’s challenge we’re fit for When it came to fixing details for the balcony arms, for example, we designed special Top fixed (or post-fixed) brackets to suit the existing concrete structure rather than using our usual cast-in anchor system common on new build developments.”

With an increase of office to residential conversion due to relaxed planning requirements, solutions like these are becoming increasingly important to our industry.